Saturday, March 31, 2012

La Montée pascale - Photo Round-Up - Saturday of Lent Week V

Avec la Semaine sainte qui commence demain avec le Dimanche de la Passion (des Rameaux), nous sommes invité(e)s à entrer avec Jésus et son église dans le mystère pascale.

Les textes des Écritures sont très riches ces jours-ci, surtout la lecture de la Passion de Jésus selon saint Marc (dimanche) et de la Passion selon saint Jean (le Vendredi saint).

« Les yeux fixés sur Jésus Christ, entrons dans le combat de Dieu. »

Bonne montée pascale!

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Here are some photos from recent activities and travel: the St. Patrick's Day Mass at the Ottawa Basilica on March 17 (two weeks ago now!), the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario (ACBO) meeting in Toronto (March 19-21) and the OPECO meeting of French Catholic educators (also in Toronto, March 22).

[Tomorrow I hope to catch up on this last week's activities (a visit last Sunday to Notre-Dame-des-Champs parish in Navan and a visit to St. Anne's Catholic Elementary School in Fallowfield on Monday, March 26).]

Lots of folks sporting "the green"

Irish dancers and a kid brother altar-server

Everyone's wearing a shamrock!

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ACBO: a couple of bishops and two diocesan administrators at table

A presentation stresses the value of small Christian groups in parish life

Alberta Archbishop Gerard Pettipas, CSsR and Mr. Gerry Kelly
speak about projects that favour aboriginal communities 

At OPECO meeting Mgr Jean-Louis Plouffe
presides at session with Catholic School Trustees

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Dinnertime on the Prairies, William Kurelek, 1963. Oil on masonite.

McMaster University Collection, Hamilton, Ontario

Dinnertime on the Prairies is best described by the artist himself:

On the label for the back of the painting Kurelek wrote, “This is an intuitive painting. I was wondering how to paint a Western religious painting and suddenly this idea came to me so it is open to interpretation. The meaning I put on it is that sin, which crucifies Christ over and over, can just as easily happen on a summer day on a Manitoba farm as anywhere else. The farmer and his sons doing the fencing may have had an argument just before dinner or one of them may have enjoyed a lustful thought. Or got an idea how to revenge himself on neighbours, etc.”

Thanks to John O'Brien, SJ's blog: Veritas Liberabit (

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Have mercy, Lord, on your Church, as she brings you her supplications, and be attentive to those who incline their hearts before you: do not allow, we pray, those you have redeemed by the Death of your Only Begotten Son, to be harmed by their sins or weighed down by their trials. Through Christ our Lord.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Anniversaire de Mgr Alexandre VACHON - Friday in Lent Week 5

(16 août 1885 - 30 mars 1953) 

Biographie du «plus ecclésiastique des savants et plus savant des ecclésiastiques»

Parmi les plus illustres «enfants» de Saint-Raymond, on retrouve un homme qui a marqué la vie religieuse au Canada. Né le 16 août 1885 à Chute Panet, monseigneur Alexandre Vachon a laissé bien des questions sans réponses pour un natif de Saint-Raymond, lequel partage avec l’homme d’église plusieurs ancêtres et un lieu de naissance communs.

Maintenant retraité, André N. Vachon a effectué une recherche sur les circonstances entourant la mort de Mgr Alexandre Vachon à Dallas, le 30 mars 1953.

Cinq ans après avoir entrepris cette recherche, le résultat est publié sous forme d’œuvre biographique sur Mgr Alexandre Vachon, que l’auteur qualifie du «plus ecclésiastique des savants et le plus savant des ecclésiastiques». André Vachon veut ainsi «souligner l’apport considérable de cet homme à la communauté humaine».

Le paragraphe suivant est de la main de l’auteur André Vachon.

«De par sa vocation, l’œuvre de Mgr Alexandre Vachon est évidemment de nature spirituelle, mais dans son cas tout autant temporelle, sinon plus.

Même si bien d’autres sujets l’occupe passablement, comme la radio d’état, la première partie de sa vie est consacrée en grande partie à promouvoir l’enseignement scientifique aux Canadiens français.

À la fin de celle-ci qu’il passe à Québec, il occupait le poste de recteur de l’Université Laval. Le bien-être spirituel des fidèles du diocèse d’Ottawa est l’objet principal de son œuvre au cours du reste de sa vie, de 1940 à 1953.

À cet endroit, il vient encore en aide aux Canadiens français qui se trouvent en minorité dans la partie ontarienne de son diocèse. Il doit cependant le faire en ménageant les intérêts des Irlandais anglophones qui forment une minorité chez les catholiques de l’ensemble de son diocèse.

Ses racines mixtes (père francophone et mère anglophone) et la diversité linguistique et religieuse de son patelin d’origine (francophones catholiques, anglophones catholiques, anglophones protestants) l’ont bien préparé à cette tâche.

Originaire d’un milieu rustique, il doit s’adapter rapidement à différentes sphères sociales, dont celle des salons de l’aristocratie, afin de pouvoir faire avancer ses différentes causes.

À la fin de sa vie, il jette un œil sévère sur son œuvre, croyant ne pas en avoir fait assez. À vous de juger».

* * *

Calice en or orné de pierres précieuses offert à Mgr Alexandre Vachon (sixième évêque d’Ottawa), par sa mère, à l’occasion de son ordination sacerdotale, le 22 mai 1910.

* * * * * *

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that your servants, who seek the grace of your protection, may be free from every evil and serve you in peace of mind. Through Christ our Lord.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Montreal's Priest-Film Critic Dies Thursday in the Fifth Week of Lent

On Friday I will attend the funeral in Montreal of a dear Jesuit colleague:
Father Marc Gervais, S.J.
December 3, 1929-March 25, 2012

Marc Gervais, a priest from Montreal, taught for decades at Loyola College and Concordia.

Priest had a passion for film

Pierre Obendrauf, Postmedia News

Postmedia News • Mar. 28, 2012
Last Updated: Mar. 28, 2012 3:05 AM ET

A Montreal priest with a passion for world cinema, Marc Gervais was an influential educator, film consultant and author of scholarly works on Ingmar Bergman and Pier Paolo Pasolini.

He died late Sunday afternoon, age 82, at a Jesuit retreat in Pickering, Ont. His funeral is Friday at his parish church next to Concordia University's Loyola campus, where he taught for decades.

Gervais had been suffering from dementia for several years when he passed away. He is survived by his brother, André, a prominent Montreal lawyer, and his sister, Connie.

Family, friends, colleagues and students remember Gervais as a charismatic humanist who communicated his lifelong love of film to generations of Loyola College and Concordia students.

Among them were Denys Arcand (a future Oscar winner), John Kent Harrison (who went on to make TV movies such as The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler), and Kevin Tierney (producer of Bon Cop, Bad Cop).

"I think in some ways the goal of my entire professional career has been to get Marc's approval," Tierney wrote by email from Mexico City, where he's promoting his latest film, French Immersion.

"Maybe I don't have to worry about that anymore or maybe it's worse now knowing I can't."

Some of Gervais' students went on to become journalists, such as the CBC's Hana Gartner and The Gazette's Paul Cherry, who took two or three courses with him in the mid-1990s.

"He was humble about his credentials," said Cherry, now The Gazette's crime reporter. "I remember one day he mentioned in a very by-theway manner that he knew Jean-Luc Godard personally."

Born and raised in Sherbrooke, Que., Gervais was the second child of Sylvia Mullins and Superior Court Justice Césaire Gervais. He got the movie bug early: Though not yet the legal cinema-going age of 14, he used to tag along with his grandmother, Lily Mullins, on her outings to the theatre.

Gervais graduated from Loyola in 1950 with a bachelor of arts degree. In 1960 he got a master's of fine arts in drama at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1963 and began his academic career at Loyola in 1967. In 1979 he received a doctorate in film esthetics from the Sorbonne.

Over the years - first at Loyola, then at Concordia after its founding in 1974 - he gave courses on Hollywood silents and musicals and Westerns, on German expressionist cinema and Italian neo-realism and the French New Wave, and on directors as varied as John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock and Quentin Tarantino.

In a course called Film Ideas, Gervais screened one film every week at the old Cinema V in Notre Dame de Grâce. He also opened up screenings to the public at Concordia's F.C. Smith Auditorium.

"His passion was for teaching - he loved to teach," said his long-time Concordia colleague Sheelah O'Neill, who runs the communications studies department.

In emails to her, some of his former students remembered their mentor as someone who, as Harrison put it, "ignited our passion and in most cases, changed the direction of our lives."

"Who can forget," Harrison wrote, "those moments when he would freeze a frame of Bergman or Rossellini on that rickety old 16-millimetre projector, hold his hands to heaven and without a word manage to engage our limbic brains with paragraphs of profundity?"

Gervais attended the annual Cannes Film Festival 39 times; defended Pasolini as a jury member at the 1968 Venice Film Festival and in his 1973 book about the controversial Italian filmmaker; became the go-to international Bergman expert in 1999 with his book Ingmar Bergman: Magician and Prophet; and worked as a consultant on such Catholic-themed films as Agnes of God, Black Robe and The Mission.

Gervais was also the founding director of the Loyola Institute for Studies in International Peace, a founding member of Concordia's Lonergan University College and commissioner with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

An award in his name - the $2,000 Marc Gervais Prize in Communications Studies - is given each year to a BA student graduating from Concordia.

In his spare time, Gervais was an avid tennis player and a big baseball and hockey fan, favouring - to the dismay of his Montreal acolytes - the Boston Bruins.

He struck an urbane figure in tweed jackets and ascots, looked a bit like French director François Truffaut and did funny impersonations of movie stars such as Cary Grant.

He lived most of his life on or just next to Loyola campus.

* * *

* * * * * *


Be gracious to your people, Lord, we pray, that, as from day to day they reject what does not please you, they may be filled instead with delight at your commands. Through Christ our Lord.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Passion (Palm) Sunday, Year B - 85ième anniversaire du décès de Mgr JOSEPH-MÉDARD EMARD - Wednesday of Lenten Week 5

Passion (Palm) Sunday (Year "B") - April 1, 2012

[Texts: Mark 11.1-10 or John 12.12-16; Isaiah 50.4-7 [Psalm 22]; Philippians 2.6-11; Mark 14.1-15.47]

Two gospel passages are read on Passion Sunday. This year it is the Markan Passion Narrative, as well as the account of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem in either Mark or John's version.

Mark's account of the procession into Jerusalem narrates Jesus' foreknowledge of a tethered colt that had never been ridden. The disciples were told to bring it to Jesus so he could ride the several kilometres from Bethany, through Bethphage, up to the city of Jerusalem via the Mount of Olives.

Pilgrims customarily entered the Holy City on foot, so Jesus' gesture in commandeering a mount is striking. Jewish disciples might be reminded of the way people had strewn garments on the ground when Jehu was acclaimed as king of Israel (2 Kings 9.13).

Roman citizens hearing the gospel might recall how their rulers were acclaimed with victory parades. Jesus is celebrated at the close of his ministry for triumphs won over demons, disease and death.

Three Passion predictions had given the reader an outline of Jesus' sufferings: how he would be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, condemned to death, given over to the Gentiles, mocked, spat upon, scourged and killed, prior to rising from the dead after three days (cf. Mark 10.32-34).

This schema is completed with other traditional elements of the Passion: Jesus' anointing, last supper and prayer in Gethsemane (14.1-42); his arrest and the disciples' flight (14.43-52); Peter's denials and interrogations of Jesus by the religious leaders and Pilate (14.53-15.20); Jesus' condemnation, crucifixion, death and burial (15.21-47).

Mark's Passion account has several striking features, including two instances of the Markan “sandwich” technique, a procedure whereby he interprets a narrative by locating it within two halves of another story.

For example, the generosity of the woman anointing the head of Jesus with costly nard (equal to a year's wages) is contrasted with the grudging complaints of the bystanders about the ‘waste’ involved and, especially, with the grasping outlook of Judas (Mark 14.3-9). His treachery made possible the plot against Jesus (14.1-2, 10-11).

Likewise, Peter's cowardice in denying Jesus three times to save his skin (Mark 14.53, 66-72) stands in marked contrast with Jesus' bold declaration of his identity before the high priest and council, leading to his death (14.54-65).

Other prominent features of Mark's narrative are his account of Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane and on the cross. Jesus' two-fold petition made known both his felt desire (“for you all things are possible: remove this cup from me”) and submission to the divine will (“yet, not what I want, but what you want'). It serves as a model for the prayer of disciples. Christians are both bold enough to declare openly their desires, yet humble enough to echo Jesus' instruction to pray, “your will be done” (Matthew 6.10; 26.42).

The shocking words of Jesus from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” may be understood in a similar light. Out of his brokenness on the cross Jesus stays in communion with the Father, making known his state of soul.

The fact that in his extremity Jesus prayed a hymn (Psalm 22) shows disciples the value of fixed prayer forms when they cannot find words to pray. The confident conclusion of Psalm 22, with its promise to praise God in the people's assembly for rescue from distress, points to Jesus' confident hope that the Father would rescue him out of death's grasp.

Jesus' loud cry signalled his death (“then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last”). It was accompanied by two events, the notice about the Temple veil being torn in two and the Gentile centurion's confession “truly this man was God's Son!”

The torn veil has been interpreted as a sign that God would no longer be present in the Temple or that through the death of Jesus there is now open access to God's presence. For those who accept it, the broken body of Jesus points out that it is by accepting the cross in one's life that the new life of the risen Lord Jesus can be shared.

For Mark, the truth of Jesus' kingship would only become visible at the crucifixion, in the self-emptying love of one who became a “suffering servant” (Isaiah) and did not “regard equality with God as something to be exploited” (Philippians).

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3rd Archbishop of Ottawa

This week we commemorate the death of two of my predecessors: today the 85th anniversary of Mgr Joseph-Medard Emard, third archbishop of Ottawa (from 1922-1927) and on March 30, the anniversary of the death in 1953 of Mgr Alexandre Vachon, 5th archbishop of Ottawa (1940-1953). 

Here in French is an extract from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online where an English version of this text may be found (

Un extrait du Dictionnaire biographique du Canada en ligne (, ou on peut lire le texte au complet:

EMARD, JOSEPH-MÉDARD, prêtre catholique, professeur et archevêque, né le 31 mars 1853 à Saint-Constant, Bas-Canada, fils de Médard Emard et de Mathilde Baudin ; décédé le 28 mars 1927 à Ottawa.

Joseph-Médard Emard grandit dans une famille qui donnera à l'Église catholique deux prêtres et trois religieuses. À l'âge de cinq ans, il entreprend ses études élémentaires sous la gouverne de son père, instituteur devenu depuis peu directeur d'école à Saint-Hubert. À 11 ans, il commence ses études classiques au petit séminaire de Sainte-Thérèse (1864–1867) pour les terminer au petit séminaire de Montréal (1867–1872). À l'automne de 1872, il entre au grand séminaire de la même ville. Au terme de ses études théologiques, il reçoit l'ordination de Mgr Édouard-Charles Fabre*, évêque de Montréal, le 10 juin 1876.

Le jeune prêtre est aussitôt nommé vicaire de la paroisse Saint-Enfant-Jésus. Emard aspire cependant à aller à Rome, ville qu'il associe à la grandeur, la puissance et l'influence triomphante de l'Église catholique. Son rêve se réalise à l'automne de 1877, quand il part étudier la théologie et le droit canonique au séminaire romain. Il s'y fait de nombreux amis, tant à la curie qu'au séminaire français, où il loge. Dans ses récits de voyages, il décrira avec complaisance les longues processions des dignitaires à l'occasion de congrès eucharistiques et s'enthousiasmera devant la puissance spirituelle de l'Église qu'elles suggèrent. Dans une lettre qu'il écrit à son père le 9 mars 1879, il illustre son amour viscéral pour Rome et pour la manière romaine de faire les choses : « Quand le pape bénit de son trône, sa physionomie a quelque chose qui n'est plus de ce monde ; on sent qu'il y a là une influence surnaturelle. » Il revient à Montréal en 1880, muni de deux doctorats.

À son retour, Emard devient vicaire de la paroisse Saint-Joseph. En 1881, il est nommé vice-chancelier de l'évêché, puis, huit ans plus tard, chancelier. Travailleur acharné que l'activité intellectuelle ne lasse jamais, Emard se tient informé de diverses questions. Il est abonné à quelques périodiques de Paris, l'Univers, les Études et la Nouvelle Revue théologique, ainsi qu'à des revues italiennes et irlandaises. À partir de 1883, il collabore activement à la Semaine religieuse de Montréal, revue fondée l'année précédente et qui vise à faire connaître le point de vue catholique sur les grands sujets de l'époque. Il y publie plusieurs articles et en prendra la direction en 1889. Lorsque, en 1887, est créée la faculté des arts de l'université Laval à Montréal, c'est à lui qu'on demande d'enseigner, à titre de professeur titulaire, l'histoire de l'Église. En 1922, il deviendra membre de la Société royale du Canada.

Le 5 avril 1892, Léon XIII nomme Emard évêque titulaire du nouveau diocèse de Valleyfield. Consacré le 9 juin, il restera à la tête de Valleyfield pendant 30 ans. Le nouvel évêque n'a que 39 ans et pratiquement aucune expérience paroissiale. En revanche, il possède une solide formation théologique et canonique. De plus, ses 11 années passées dans l'administration diocésaine l'ont bien préparé à l'épiscopat en le mettant au fait de tous les aspects de la vie de l'Église canadienne et en contact avec ses principaux acteurs : Paul Bruchési*, qui deviendra archevêque de Montréal en 1897, Narcisse-Zéphirin Lorrain, qui sera nommé premier évêque de Pembroke, en Ontario, en 1898, Joseph-Alfred Archambeault*, qui prendra la direction du diocèse de Joliette, dans la province de Québec, à sa création en 1904, Zotique Racicot*, qui sera quant à lui nommé premier évêque auxiliaire de Montréal en 1905….

Au dire de ses contemporains, Mgr Emard fait preuve de jugement, de bonté, de sagesse et de prudence. De taille moyenne, il a une démarche majestueuse et mesurée, et il impressionne. D'une correction parfaite dans sa tenue comme dans son maintien, sérieux et calme dans les délibérations, prudent et ferme dans ses décisions, il affectionne les entrées liturgiques solennelles dans sa cathédrale au son des cloches. Il célèbre les offices avec une grande dignité et donne toujours le sermon de la balustrade, portant crosse, mitre et ornements pontificaux. En conversation, il fait montre d'affabilité et de courtoisie. Cette dignité entretenue crée entre lui et ses interlocuteurs une distance qui peut passer pour de la froideur, voire de la duplicité. Dans l'intimité cependant, il vit de façon simple, aime être chez lui et fumer un bon cigare en compagnie d'amis. Il adore la nature : aussi souvent qu'il le peut, il se retire à Port Lewis, au bord du lac Saint-François. Sa conversation devient alors vive, enjouée et intarissable sans toutefois dépasser les limites d'une prudente réserve. Son sens du devoir prédomine toujours, ce qui le fait souvent marcher sur son cœur.

Bien qu'il accorde, dans ses écrits, plus d'importance au fond qu'à la forme, Mgr Emard s'exprime avec conviction et précision. Ses lettres pastorales, qu'elles s'attardent à des questions dogmatiques (l'Église, le Sacré-Cœur, la Vierge) ou morales (la justice, la tempérance, l'épargne familiale), empruntent toujours le même plan : fondement biblique, évolution de la question au cours des âges, doctrine officielle de l'Église, description détaillée de la réalité vécue (où il se montre fin observateur des mœurs de ses ouailles), et, finalement, une invitation à prier et à s'amender. Sa rhétorique explique sans doute la diversité et le grand nombre d'invitations à prendre la parole qui lui sont adressées de partout : consécrations épiscopales, professions religieuses, anniversaires de fondations, bénédictions d'églises, funérailles d'État, messes commémoratives, et autres. De 1918 à 1920, à titre d'Ordinaire de l'armée canadienne, il est responsable de la direction spirituelle des troupes…. dans le respect à toute autorité légitime ».

L'Église a un rôle à jouer au delà de la sphère religieuse. Conscient de cette responsabilité, Mgr Emard s'intéresse, dans ses œuvres pastorales, à plusieurs aspects de la vie de ses fidèles, notamment l'agriculture (26 décembre 1893), le recensement (14 février 1901), la justice (25 décembre 1901), la tempérance (25 décembre 1903), le serment devant les tribunaux (8 décembre 1905), la guerre (24 décembre 1914) et l'épargne familiale (19 février 1917). Dans ses interventions, il se fait généralement précis et directif en fixant par exemple le programme détaillé des études pour les garçons et les filles ou en incitant les agriculteurs à adopter les techniques récentes et à former des cercles d'études. En revanche, il se montre plus vague quand il aborde des sujets difficiles. Sans se prononcer ouvertement, il croit que, par opportunisme et par principe, le Canada doit participer à la Première Guerre mondiale, et il reconnaît le bien-fondé de la conscription.

Dans Mes mémoires, l'abbé Lionel Groulx* décrit Mgr Emard comme un libéral, non pas doctrinal, mais « par sa tournure d'esprit, par son tempérament, ses tendances », comme un admirateur de sir Wilfrid Laurier* et de l'Angleterre, et comme un contempteur des visées nationalistes des Canadiens français. Qu'en est-il ? À l'époque, quatre questions, entre autres, divisent l'épiscopat canadien-français : les écoles du Manitoba, la langue, la notion de patriotisme, la loyauté envers l'Angleterre. Au sujet de la première, Mgr Emard adopte un point de vue réaliste. La question est sérieuse, écrit-il en janvier 1897, car de sa solution dépend le statut de la religion dans tout le dominion. Tout en admettant le caractère inacceptable de la décision du gouvernement manitobain, il estime qu'il ne faut pas partir en guerre pour autant, comme certains évêques ont tenté de le faire.

L'attitude de Mgr Emard est identique dans la question de la langue. Il est vrai, dit-il aux écoliers de son diocèse en mars 1919, que la langue française a sauvé l'identité nationale et religieuse des Canadiens français, que de « toutes les langues vivantes, c'est la plus harmonieuse, la plus souple, la plus précise, la plus claire, la plus riche et […] la plus distinguée », qu'il faut l'apprendre, l'écrire et la parler correctement. La langue anglaise est cependant parlée dans les deux tiers de la planète ; moyen privilégié de communication internationale, elle est la langue de l'industrie, du commerce, des finances et, surtout, celle de concitoyens. Les Canadiens français doivent donc se faire un devoir de l'apprendre s'ils veulent jouer un rôle politique….

Mgr Emard devient archevêque d'Ottawa le 2 juin 1922, à la suite du décès de Mgr Charles Hugh Gauthier. La nomination de ce dernier, en 1910, est survenue malgré le fait qu'il avait lui-même recommandé l'évêque de Valleyfield pour occuper ce poste. Mgr Emard, qui est alors âgé de 69 ans, prend officiellement possession de son siège le 21 septembre suivant. Pendant son épiscopat, qui durera moins de cinq ans, il établit dix vicariats forains, crée cinq paroisses et fonde le petit séminaire d'Ottawa (1925). Il décède le 28 mars 1927, après quelques mois de maladie. Mgr Guillaume Forbes* lui succédera.

Aux yeux de Mgr Joseph-Médard Emard, la seule société parfaite est l'Église catholique romaine : par conséquent, toute société, sous peine de périr victime de l'anarchie et du désordre, a grandement avantage à l'imiter, c'est-à-dire « à exiger de ses membres la dépendance hiérarchique et la soumission franche et dévouée à l'autorité », comme il le déclare le 22 avril 1918. La soumission, selon Mgr Emard, peut même remplacer la compétence. L'expérience des soldats canadiens pendant la Première Guerre mondiale le prouve : ils n'avaient pas toute la formation stratégique requise, mais « l'habitude de la discipline, le sens du devoir et celui de la soumission hiérarchique durent largement compenser » cette absence, écrit-il à l'intention des aumôniers de l'armée canadienne en 1918.

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Attend, Almighty God, to the prayers of your people, and, as you endow them with confident hope in your compassion, let them feel as ever the effects of your mercy. Through Christ our Lord.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Association of the Faithful: Queenship of Mary Community - Tuesday in 5th Week of Lent

Yesterday, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, a special ceremony was held at Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica: the establishment of five women as members of a private association of Christ's faithful, with four of the five making vows for a period of one year (the fifth is a novice).

The festivities began in the lower chapel (Archbishops' Chapel) at 11:15, the acceptance of their desire for consecration to the service of God's people as the Community of the Queenship of Mary.  Their new habits and veils were blessed, brief accounts were given of the history of the association, which began in Halifax some seven years ago. In the last five years, the testing of the vocational charism has been tested here in Ottawa.

A large number of supporters, benefactors and friends was present.  Here are some photos of the clothing ceremony and the vow ceremony during Mass (thanks to Paul Lauzon for the pix):


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O God, who choose to show mercy not anger to those who hope in you, grant that your faithful may weep, as they should, for the evil they have done, and so merit the grace of your consolation. Through Christ our Lord.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD (transferred) - The Pope Leaves Mexico, Heads for Cuba

Dear brothers and sisters, do not forget that true devotion to the Virgin Mary always takes us to Jesus, and “consists neither in sterile nor transitory feelings, nor in an empty credulity, but proceeds from true faith, by which we are led to recognize the excellence of the Mother of God, and we are moved to filial love towards our Mother and to the imitation of her virtues” (Lumen Gentium, 67). To love her means being committed to listening to her Son, to venerate the Guadalupana means living in accordance with the words of the blessed fruit of her womb.

At this time, when so many families are separated or forced to emigrate, when so many are suffering due to poverty, corruption, domestic violence, drug trafficking, the crisis of values and increased crime, we come to Mary in search of consolation, strength and hope. She is the Mother of the true God, who invites us to stay with faith and charity beneath her mantle, so as to overcome in this way all evil and to establish a more just and fraternal society.

With these sentiments, I place once again this country, all of Latin America and the Caribbean before the gentle gaze of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I entrust all their sons and daughters to the Star of both the original and the new evangelization; she has inspired with her maternal love their Christian history, has given particular expression to their national achievements, to their communal and social initiatives, to family life, to personal devotion and to the Continental Mission which is now taking place across these noble lands. In times of trial and sorrow she was invoked by many martyrs who, in crying out “Long live Christ the King and Mary of Guadalupe” bore unyielding witness of fidelity to the Gospel and devotion to the Church.

I now ask that her presence in this nation may continue to serve as a summons to defence and respect for human life. May it promote fraternity, setting aside futile acts of revenge and banishing all divisive hatred. May Holy Mary of Guadalupe bless us and obtain for us the abundant graces that, through her intercession, we request from heaven.

Benedict XVI, Angelus Message, Mexico, 25-03-2012

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Dear Young People:

I am happy to be able to meet with you and to see your smiling faces as you fill this beautiful square.

You have a very special place in the Pope’s heart. And in these moments, I would like all the children of Mexico to know this, especially those who have to bear the burden of suffering, abandonment, violence or hunger, which in recent months, because of drought, has made itself strongly felt in some regions.

I am grateful for this encounter of faith, and for the festive and joyful presence expressed in song.

Today we are full of jubilation, and this is important. God wants us to be happy always. He knows us and he loves us.

If we allow the love of Christ to change our heart, then we can change the world. This is the secret of authentic happiness.

Benedict XVI, To the Youth of Mexico, 24-03-2012

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Passiontide Begins - COLF Seminar on Marriage and the Family

Today begins a fortnight devoted to the Passion of Our Lord and the call to a renewed attachment to his Person and Teaching. A wonderful occasion to celebrate one's Lenten confession and so to experience the fruits of the Paschal Mystery in our own personal lives.

There is a bilingual reconciliation service that I will preside at Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, this Sunday afternoon, March 25 at 2:30PM; all welcome!

By your help, we beseech you, Lord our God, may we walk eagerly in that same charity with which, out of love for the world, your Son handed himself over to death.

* * * * * *
This week past was quite full: following the celebrations of St. Patrick and St. Joseph, patrons of the Archdiocese of Ottawa, I flew to Toronto for the Spring Plenary of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario (ACBO) held until Wednesday afternoon. 

We reelected Cardinal Thomas Collins as President, Bishop Ronald Fabbro as Vice-President and Archbishop Brendan O'Brien and Mgr Jean-Louis Plouffe as executive members.
On Wednesday afternoon, following the ACBO Priests Commission meeting [I was reappointed a member of this Commission as well as renewed in my membership on the Insurance Management Board and named as Liaison Bishop for the Francophone Priests (as we are short of francophone bishops for the time being)], I visited the Ottawa seminarians studying at St. Augustine's Seminary.
Thursday morning, we had the OPECO meeting at which francophone school board directors and Trustee board chairs meet with episcopal leadership to discuss educational issues of mutual concern. 

Then I flew home to attend the 3rd Seminar of the Catholic Office for Life and the Family, treating of matters of marriage and family, at the Sherton Hotel on Albert Street.  There was a significant presence from across Canada at this bilingual meeting during which there was a wonderful exchange of experiences and hopes.  The newly-appointed Archbishop of Montreal, Mgr Christian Lepine, attended, as did several other bishops.
Photos from the earlier events will be posted in coming days; herewith some pix from the COLF seminar:

COLF/OCVF Chair, Mgr Noel Simard

[Hint: cohabitation before marriage, openness to Natural Family Planning]

I reconnected with Halifax-Yarmouth priests
Father John MacPherson and Mgr Gerald Leblanc

Mgr Christian Lepine of Montreal is welcomed to Ottawa
by the archbishops of the National Capital Region

Some of the Canadians planning to attend the Vatican-sponsored
International Gathering on the Family in Milan, June 2012

Speaker Dr. John Zucchi

On the right: Speakers Christian and Christine Meert, Colorado Springs, CO