Thursday, December 26, 2013

Un évêque chez les Sœurs – A Christmas Visit to the Motherhouse

L'archevêque d'Ottawa, Monseigneur Terrence Prendergast, a suivi les traces de ses prédécesseurs, le matin de Noël, en célébrant la messe pour les Soeurs de la Charité d'Ottawa, à la chapelle de la maison mère de cet ordre religieux, sur la rue Bruyère. Cette tradition a débuté au milieu du 19e siècle, alors que le premier évêque d'Ottawa, Monseigneur Eugène-Bruno Guigues, est allé rendre visite à la fondatrice des Soeurs de la charité d'Ottawa, Soeur Élisabeth Bruyère.

Dans son homélie prononcée devant une cinquantaine de religieuses et quelques invités, Monseigneur Prendergast a demandé à l'assistance de prier pour les victimes de la guerre, particulièrement en Syrie et au Sud-Soudan, où un conflit armé fait encore rage, ainsi que pour les personnes éprouvées par les catastrophes naturelles, notamment les Ontariens et les Québécois qui sont encore sans électricité, à la suite de la tempête de verglas des derniers jours. [Le Droit, Ottawa, 25-26/12/2013]

* * * * *

Following a tradition begun by the first bishop of Ottawa, I spent yesterday morning at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa for Christmas Day Mass, a visit to the frail elderly sisters in the Infirmary (we sang Christmas carols) as well as a retirement community and the whole household for a festive dinner. A reporter from our local newspaper Le Droit was present and the story above is the shortened online version of what appears in today's print edition.
Last year, because of an outbreak of gastro-intestinal flu among the elderly sisters, the visit was put off until the Epiphany, so resuming the tradition this year was a delight.  On the way home, Mgr Daniel who was accompanying me and I dropped in to visit Mgr Landriault, who lives in the Elisabeth Bruyere residence nearby; he was in great form as he had been able to be vested to concelebrate Mass with Mgr Cazabon in the hospital chapel. Some other pictures from yesterday:

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saint Peter Canisius, Master Catechist - "O Rising Dawn"

St Peter Canisius, whose optional memorial may be kept today (in Switzerland and Jesuit houses it is observed on April 27) revitalized a Church that had grown lazy in bringing the faith to people.

One of the most important Jesuits of the 17th century, Pieter Kanis did much to revitalize the Church in the German-speaking borderlands that come under the influence of Protestant ideas.

A Doctor of the Church, he served in the Society of Jesus at a time when it was credited with saving the Catholic faith in much of Germany, Switzerland, Bohemia ad Moravia.

Born in the Habsburg-controlled Netherlands in 1521 (the region would become part of the Dutch Republic in 1549), he lost his mother very early and his father, a wealthy magistrate, sent him to study at the University of Cologne. There he come under the influence of Peter Faber, one of the founders of the Society of Jesus, and Canisius became the first Dutchman to join the order.

A skilled preacher and writer, he re-invigorated a Church that had grown lazy in bringing the faith to ordinary people. He travelled around the German-speaking world, especially its colleges – a dangerous task that earned him the nickname “the Second Apostle of Germany” (the first being the Anglo-Saxon Boniface). He even turned down the offer of becoming Bishop of Vienna because he wished to continue his travels.

The Dutchman also had a strong influence on Emperor Ferdinand I, who came close to going over to the other side when his son and heir, Maximillian, became a Protestant. Had the Holy Roman Empire itself gone along with the rising tide, then Catholicism could have ended up as a fringe, southern European faith.

Much of the success of the Counter-Reformation was due to Catholics imitating the methods of Protestants, and Canisius’s great success was to produce the “German Catechism”, by which the basics of Catholics were made available in German so that all Germans could understand it. Moving to Augsburg in 1559, he preached and preached and preached, winning back hundreds of Protestants to the faith, and establishing the Jesuits as the most effective agency of the Catholic Church, feared and admired in equal measures. Even after a stroke left him paralysed at the age of 70 he continued to preach and wrote for another eight years until his death.

Canisius was beatified in 1864 and canonized in 1925. He is buried in the grounds of the Jesuit college in Fribourg.

* * * * *


O Soleil levant, splendeur de justice et lumière éternelle, illumine ceux qui habitent les ténèbres et l’ombre de la mort : viens, Seigneur, viens nous sauver.

    O Radiant Dawn, splendour of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Meet the Church’s Newest Saint: PierreFavre—Feast August 2

Peter Faber (Favre) was St. Ignatius Loyola's first recruit. He was born on April 13, 1506, in the village of Villaret, Savoy. As a youth he shepherded his father's flock on the high pastures of the Alps and had no other education than what one receives at home. He was endowed, however, with an extraordinary memory; he could hear a sermon in the morning and then repeat it verbatim in the afternoon for his friends. He longed to go to school, but his family was too poor, and years later he wrote in his Memorial that in his sadness at not being able to study, he wept himself to sleep every night.

Peter's parents heard his weeping and finally acquiesced to his wishes and sent him in 1516 to a small school operated by the parish priest seven miles away. The 10-year-old quickly learned to read and write and the following year went to La Roche, a dozen miles away, where he remained until he went to the University of Paris in 1525.

Peter arrived in the French capital about October of that year and resided at the College of Sainte-Barbe, where his roommate was Francis Xavier. Francis had just come from Navarre and was the same age as Peter. Both gave themselves to their studies, beginning with philosophy and advancing to theology. In October 1529, they accepted another roommate, Ignatius Loyola, who had been in Paris for over a year, and of whom it was said that whoever came into contact with him invariably changed for the better.

Ignatius had difficulties with Greek so Peter tutored him in Aristotle. While Peter served as Ignatius' guide in academic matters, Ignatius served as Peter's guide in spiritual matters. Now in his mid-twenties, Peter was still undecided about his future. Should he be a lawyer? A teacher? A priest? A monk? It was while living in Paris that he learned of Ignatius' plan to follow Christ. This was what Peter needed to give direction to his life. Under Ignatius' influence he decided to become a priest, and shortly before his ordination Ignatius led him through the Spiritual Exercises for a period of thirty days….

On August 15, 1534, the feast of our Lady's Assumption, Ignatius and his six companions met in the crypt of the Chapel of Saint-Denis on Montmartre, and while Fr. Faber celebrated Mass—he was the only priest among them—each pronounced his vows….

When Ignatius returned to Spain for a period of convalescence, Fr. Faber was left in charge of the group. They left Paris in November 1536 and arrived in Venice in January of the following year to find that Ignatius had arrived before them. While waiting for the sailing season to the Holy Land to open, they worked in two of the city's hospitals. In March Ignatius sent Fr. Faber and the others to Rome to request Pope Paul III's approval of their proposed journey. Though His Holiness readily granted their request, he at the same time informed them that it was unlikely that the group would get there, because war with the Turks seemed imminent. Fr. Faber and companions returned to Venice; since the pope's fears proved correct, he and Ignatius directed their steps toward Rome in November to offer their services to the pope. The pope responded by appointing Fr. Faber to Rome's Sapienza University, where he lectured on theology and Scripture until May 1539.

[After a stay in Parma, Fr. Faber] was instructed to accompany Dr. Pedro Ortiz, Emperor Charles V's representative to the religious colloquy to be held between Catholics and Protestants at Worms in Germany. They arrived in Worms in late October, and though it was a Lutheran city Fr. Faber set about preaching, hearing confessions, and giving the Exercises. The colloquy was late in starting and when it did begin on January 14, 1541, it lasted only four days, for the emperor then transferred it to Ratisbon (today's Regensburg). Fr. Faber moved to Ratisbon in February and spent the next six months working among the Catholic faithful there. He was not directly involved in the theological discussions, but he followed them closely and sent letters to Fr. Ignatius describing the events taking place in the city.

Fr. Faber had more requests from priests, prelates, and princes to make the Spiritual Exercises than he himself could handle, and he wrote Fr. Ignatius that there was enough work in Ratisbon for ten more Jesuits. The colloquy's momentum, unfortunately, began to slow down and when it came time to discuss the Eucharist and Christ's real presence, a point bitterly disputed among the participants, the colloquy collapsed and the emperor's fond hope of unifying the Catholics and Protestants met a sad end….

In July 1544 Fr. Faber was assigned to Portugal at the request of King John III, who wanted him to pursue establishing the Society in that country. Fr. Faber spent the next two years in Portugal and Spain. Then in the spring of 1546, Pope Paul appointed him one of the papal theologians at the ecumenical council being held at Trent. Fr. Faber again had to set about traveling, but his health was greatly weakened from the frequent bouts of fever that he had suffered over the past years. He wanted to visit Fr. Ignatius before going to Trent in northern Italy so he sailed from Barcelona and made his way to Rome, arriving on July 17. He had not seen Ignatius for seven years and their greeting was as warm as the Italian sun above them. Before Fr. Faber had a chance to set out for Trent, the fever again attacked him.

Though only 40 years old, he knew that his end was coming and waited for it peacefully. On July 31 he made his confession, and on the morning of August 1 he heard Mass and received the last sacraments. That afternoon, while in the company of Fr. Ignatius, the gentle Fr. Faber went to God in the company of the angels to whom he was singularly devoted. Fr. Faber was buried in the church of Our Lady of the Way in Rome, but when the church of the Gesù was being erected in 1569 on the site of the former church, Fr. Faber’s remains and those of other early Jesuits were reinterred.

On September 5, 1872, Pope Pius IX, acknowledging the cult that had been paid to Peter Faber in his native Savoy, confirmed it by apostolic decree and declared that he was among the blessed in heaven. Pope Francis announced the canonization of Peter Faber on December 17, 2013. Peter Faber’s memorial is celebrated on August 2.


Father, Lord of heaven and earth, who revealed yourself to Peter Faber, your humble servant, in prayer and in the service of his neighbour, grant that we may find you and love you in everything and in every person. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

by Joseph N. Tylenda, SJ—Jesuit Saints and Martyrs, 2nd Edition © 1998 Loyola Press

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ordinariate Priestly Ordinations in Ottawa's Notre Dame Cathedral

Opening Remarks at the Ordination of Ordinariate Priests
Bryan Kipling Cooper, Douglas Hayman, John Hodgins, James Tilley
Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, Ottawa, ON
Feast of St John of the Cross—December 14, 2013

It is my honour to preside at today’s ordination and to extend a warm welcome all who have come to Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica this morning.

It is a pleasure to welcome back to our midst Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, who exercises oversight of a far-flung diocese embracing the United States and Canada. He will give the homily.

Regrettably, Father Lee Kenyon of Calgary, Dean of the Canadian Deanery of St. John the Baptist, cannot be with us due to a recent fall; Father Carl Reid will exercise his role in witnessing to the suitability for Holy Orders of Bryan Kipling Cooper, Douglas Hayman, John Hodgins and James Tilley.

These married men, who are accompanied by their wives and family members, have been granted permission by Pope Francis to exercise the priestly office in the married state.

Today, the church’s liturgy commemorates the Carmelite priest and doctor of the Church, John of the Cross. Most of his life he experienced the grace he prayed for: “to suffer and to be despised.” Toward the end of his life, even his adversaries acknowledged his sanctity. The basic idea behind his mysticism is that the soul must empty itself of self in order to be filled with God, that it must be purified of the last traces of earthliness before it is fit to become united with God. The “Dark Night” is a period of heavy trials where God perfects the soul.

Kipling, Douglas, John and James, my sons, your lives have been ones of commitment and patient witness as your credentials were studied, your competencies honed and your commitment tested. Clearly, your formation and ministry in the Anglican tradition have provided you solid spiritual bedrock on which you have been shaping your lives since you entered into full Communion with the Roman Catholic Church. You are witnesses to Christ and to the truths of Catholic Christianity–often at a cost to yourselves.

Coming into communion with the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate, you bring with you the spiritual patrimony of the Anglican Church. Now, your ministry will extend to strengthening bonds of friendship and communion between the Catholic Church and ecclesial communities of the Anglican and other Christian traditions.

St Ignatius of Antioch in writing to Blessed Polycarp outlined your task: “Be preoccupied about unity, for nothing is better than this. Help others along, as the Lord helps you. Bear with all out of love, as indeed you do. Find time for unceasing prayer. Ask for more wisdom than you have. Keep your spirit awake and watch.”

We ask God’s blessing on you, your families and the varied ministries you will exercise. May Our Lord bless you abundantly and Blessed Mother Mary intercede for you. Joyfully, I propose that we remember one another at the altar of the Lord.

[Photo credit: Deborah Gyapong]

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Queen of America!

O Virgin of Guadalupe,

Mother of the Americas,

grant to our homes the grace of loving

and respecting life in its beginnings,

with the same love with which

you conceived in your womb

the life of the Son of God.

Blessed Virgin Mary,

Mother of Fair Love,

protect our families so that

they may always be united

and bless the upbringing of our children.

Our hope, look upon us with pity,

teach is to go continually to Jesus,

and if we fall

help us to rise again and return to Him

through the confession of our faults

and our sins in the Sacrament of penance,

which gives peace to the soul.

We beg you to grant us a great love

of all the holy Sacraments,

which are, as it were,

the signs that your Son left us on earth.

Thus, Most Holy Mother,

with the peace of God in our consciences,

with our hearts free from evil and hatred,

we will be able to bring to all others

true joy and peace,

which come to us from your Son,

our Lord Jesus Christ,

who with the Father and the Holy Spirit,

lives and reigns for ever and ever.


- (Pope John Paul II.)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Today's Saint Calls Us to Pray for Syria - Movie on Mary This Friday

This article from Saint of the Week at the Catholic Herald  telling us of today's optional memorial of St. John of Damascus, doctor of the Church, reminds us to keep the people of Syria, particularly Christians there, in our thoughts and prayers.  Let us continue to pray for peace in this war-torn land:

Iohannes Damascenus, or Yuḥannā Al Demashqi, also known as the “golden speaker” (literally “streaming with a gold”) for his ability to write and argue, was a Syrian monk who made a crucial difference to the Church and without whom Eastern Orthodoxy might not have retained its attachment and beauty.

Born in 675 or 676 in the Syrian capital into a prominent family, the Mansour, his grandfather Mansur Bin Sargun had surrended the city to the Muslims, but Damascus continued to be effectively run by a Christian civil service for hundreds of years, and John’s father Sergius served the caliphs, as did John after him. One of the great polymaths of the age, John had particular skill in law, theology and music, writing hymns that are still used in Orthodox liturgy. Revered across Christendom, the Orthodox Church refers to him as “the last of the Fathers” while the Catholic Church regards him as a Doctor of the Church, in particular, the Doctor of the Assumption because of his writings on that subject.

Syria had been the land where followers of Jesus first called themselves Christian and it was steeped in the Hellenistic culture in which the faith developed.

His learned father had insisted that John “learn not only the books of the Muslims, but those of the Greeks as well” and he grew up at least partly speaking Greek, and earning a Hellenic education. His tutor may have been Cosmas, a Sicilian Greek kidnapped by Arabs, although the biography is sketchy, and Cosmas probably also taught John’s childhood friend, St Cosmas of Maiuma,

John grew up to become a major opponent of the iconoclasts, then gaining ground in the court of Constantinople. In 726 Emperor Leo III ordered that images should not be venerated, against the wishes of the patriarch, and St John undertook a defence of holy images, gaining a reputation as a writer and influencing the Second Council of Nicaea.

John left Damascus in his 40s to become a monk, partly due to the increasingly Islamic atmosphere of Damascus, and he died in Palestine on December 4, 749, at the Mar Saba monastery outside Jerusalem.

He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Leo XIII in 1883.

* * * * *
New motion picture on Saint Mary's life to play
at the Ottawa Family Cinema on Friday evening
On Friday, December 6 at 7 pm, the Archdiocese of Ottawa and the Ottawa Family Cinema will be showing the new motion picture Mary of Nazareth at the Ottawa Family Cinema, 710 Broadview Avenue, Ottawa. This true story uses a historic backdrop to tell the story of Saint Mary – the mother of Jesus; one of the Church’s most beloved and well-known saints.
Its message is as timely today as when Jesus was born. It is the story of one who’s simple and humble “yes” led to the transformation of the world, who’s heart was pierced as with a sword and who was welcomed into heaven.
For tickets – $8 in advance or $10 at the door, or $6 in advance for Ottawa Family Cinema members or $8 at the door for members – visit or call the cinema at 613-722-8218. For more information, contact Ted Hurley at or call him at the Diocesan Centre at 613-738-5025, ext. 231. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

New Deacons in the Ottawa Area

Diaconal Ordinations—Divine Infant Church, Orleans, ON:
Matthew Chojna (Archdiocese of Ottawa),
Bryan Kipling Cooper and Douglas Hayman
(Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter)
Feast of St. Andrew–November 30, 2013
[Texts: Numbers 3.5-9 (Psalm 19); Romans 10.9-18; Matthew 4.18-22]

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Andrew, the Apostle and Saint we honour today is known by the Greek Church as “protokletos”, the “first-called” disciple of Jesus. This alludes to the text in the first chapter of John’s gospel where Andrew, after his meeting with Jesus, goes and tells his brother Simon about finding the Messiah and brings him to Christ, thus also becoming the first evangelist (John 1.35-42).

This contemplative depiction of the call of Andrew (and his brother called "Peter" by Jesus) contrasts with the dramatic change in direction that is described in Matthew’s gospel that we have just heard proclaimed. There Jesus gazes on the two brothers, calls them, promises to transform them into fishers of people; dramatically, they leave their occupations and possessions to throw in their lot with Jesus. James and John do the same, leaving behind also their father, Zebedee.

These contrasting biblical images remind us that oftentimes there are several dimensions to each person’s vocation as a follower of Jesus, as all three of today’s ordinands can attest.

St. Paul in the selection from Romans speaks of the interior dimension of coming to faith in Christ when one is confronted with his resurrection. The story of Christ is told in one’s hearing, leading one’s heart to be moved to believe the truth of the gospel. Then one is lead by the Spirit to make of an act of faith with one’s lips, proclaiming that “Jesus is Lord”, that is, that he is a sharer in God’s nature; and so, thereby one is saved (which is celebrated in sacramental signs: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist).

Soon, one cannot help but realize that one is called to go forth to others with this good news, with the joy of the gospel, so as to share the saving message with others who either have not yet heard it (a “first” evangelization) or, having heard of it, have turned away from it and need to be challenged again (an evangelization that is “new” in its ardour, methods and expression).

Increasingly today Christians are being challenged by the Church herself to grow into a personal relationship with Christ, thereby becoming disciples who are simultaneously missionaries to family, friends, neighbours and fellow citizens!

This week, in an apostolic exhortation, Pope Francis pointed out the importance of a personal relationship with Our Lord for all servants of the gospel.

The joy of the Gospel, he writes, “fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness” (Evangelii Gaudium, #1). The Holy Father goes on, “I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord” (Paul VI, Gaudete in Domino). The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms” (EG, #3).

Beloved brothers and sisters: these men Matthew Chojna, Bryan Kipling Cooper and Douglas Hayman, our sons who are your relatives and friends, are now to be advanced to the Order of Deacons.

In the Book of Numbers read at the beginning of the Liturgy of the Word, we learned that Moses appointed Levites to assist in the devotional life of God’s holy people. The role of Levites, as is the case with deacons, was to assist the priests and to perform duties for Aaron the high priest and for the whole assembly. They were, in effect, to help the people have access to God’s sanctuary. But they were also to set boundaries between the sanctuary and the camp, and to teach distinctions between virtue and sin to keep God’s people out of harm’s way. There is an order and harmony in the design of God’s creation.

If proper teaching and practice are not instilled, then life and goodness suffer. Chaos and death ensue. But we must recall that such precepts flow from the encounter with Christ [not before it], just as it did for the people of Israel following their encounter with the living God.

Strengthened by the gift of the Holy Spirit, these men will help the Bishop and his priests in the ministry of the word, of the altar, and of charity. They will be servants to all. As ministers of the altar, they will proclaim the Gospel and its message of compassion and hope, prepare the sacrifice, and distribute the Lord’s Body and Blood to the faithful.

In addition, it will be their duty, at the Ordinary’s direction, to exhort believers and unbelievers alike. They will instruct them in holy doctrine. They will preside over public prayer, administer Baptism, assist at and bless Marriages, bring Viaticum to the dying, and conduct funeral rites.

Consecrated by the laying on of hands that comes down to us from the Apostles, they will perform works of charity in the name of the Bishop or the pastor. With the help of God, their labours will give public testimony of being disciples of the Lord who came not to be served, but to serve.

As Deacons, my sons, do the will of God from your heart. Serve the people in love and joy as you would the Lord. Because no one can serve two masters, look upon all defilement and avarice as serving false gods.

Like those chosen by the Apostles for the ministry of charity, you should be men of good reputation, filled with wisdom and the Holy Spirit. See your ministry of caring for the poor and needy as an extension of God’s compassionate mercy.

Pope St. Leo the Great described this marvellously, “there is nothing more worthy of man than that he become an imitator of his Creator and...the executor of the divine plan. For when the hungry are fed, the naked are clothed and the sick are strengthened–is this not the divine assistance that the hand of the minister accomplishes, and is not the goodness of the servant the hand of the Lord at work? For when God finds a helper to realize his merciful touch, he so limits his omnipotence, that he alleviates the sufferings of man through the actions of men.”

As Pope Francis does so often, having proclaimed his desire that the Church be “of the poor” and “for the poor,” I urge you to be daring and invite other disciples to enter into this outreach to the poor with you.

Firmly rooted and grounded in faith, you are to show yourselves chaste and beyond reproach before God and man, as is proper for stewards of God’s mysteries.

Never allow opposition to turn you away from the hope offered by the Gospel. Now you are not only hearers of this Gospel but also its ministers. Express by your actions the word of God that your lips proclaim, so that the Christian people, brought to life by the Spirit, may be a pure offering accepted by God.

Then on the last day, when you meet the Lord face to face, he will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.”

Monday, November 25, 2013

Our Oldest Jesuit Dies - 50e Anniversaire Paroisse St-Remi

McNally Building, Saint Mary's University, which included the Jesuit Residence 1940-81
 A few days ago, the oldest Jesuit in English-speaking Canada passed away a few months short of his hundredth birthday. He was stationed in Halifax for more than fifty years so I got to know him during my time teaching at Atlantic School of Theology (1975-81) and later when I returned as archbishop there (1998-2007). During part of the first period he was my next door neighbour on the corridor of the residence at Saint Mary’s University and during the latter period his gentility and deference to church authority ensured that he would be effusive in his welcome and most gracious to me at all times.

A chemist by training, he studied fog (not a bad subject in Halifax!) and often said when going out for a walk that he was going to conduct research. May the Lord God whom he served all these years as a scientist-priest (a most challenging ministry) lift the fog of our human condition and cause him to enter into the bright light of the splendour of Christ, King of the Created Universe and all its Peoples.

R.I.P.  Here are the details of his short obituary.

Father James W. Murphy, S.J. died peacefully on Friday, November 22, 2013 at Rene Goupil House, Pickering, ON in his 100th year, 80th year of religious life and 66th of priestly ordination.

Born on March 30th, 1914 in Saint John, New Brunswick, James Wallace Murphy entered the Society of Jesus in 1934 and was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1947 in Colombia.

After a year of special studies in Chemistry in Toronto he began his major life's work at Saint Mary's University in Halifax as Lecturer and then Professor in Chemistry, ending his work there (1954-2006) as Professor Emeritus.

A man of faith and a scientist, he moved in 2006 to La Storta in Pickering, Ontario where he devoted to a ministry of pastoral prayer for the Church and his Jesuit Order.

A wake service will be held this evening 7-9 p.m. at St. Ignatius Chapel, Manresa Spiritual Renewal Centre, Liverpool Road North, Pickering, ON; with Mass of the Resurrection there on Tuesday, November 26th at 11 a.m., with interment to follow at the Jesuit Cemetery, Guelph at 2:30 p.m.

* * * * * *


50e Anniversaire de la Paroisse St-Remi—le 24 novembre 2013
Solennité du Christ-Roi (Année « C ») —Clôture de l’Année de la Foi

[Textes: 2 Samuel 5, 1-3; [Psaume 121 (122)]; Colossiens 1, 12-20; Luc 23, 35-43]

Je suis heureux de venir vous rencontrer aujourd'hui et de prendre part au 50e anniversaire de votre paroisse.

Depuis cinquante ans, cette église est témoin de la vitalité de la foi chrétienne des catholiques francophones de l’Ouest d’Ottawa. C’est une vitalité que j'admire et qui m’amène à vous dire, en m'inspirant d'une lettre de l'apôtre saint Paul :

« Je rends grâce à Dieu à cause de vous tous. Je rends grâce à cause de votre foi qui a été et demeure active. Je rends grâce à cause de votre charité qui s'est beaucoup donné de peine et s'en donne encore. Je rends grâce pour l'espérance qui est en vous et qui tient bon malgré les difficultés et les vents contraires » (Inspirés de 1 Thessaloniciens 1, 3).

En célébrant aujourd'hui les 50 ans de votre communauté chrétienne, vous rendez grâce au Seigneur pour ces pasteurs, ces chrétiennes et ces chrétiens qui ont donné le meilleur d'eux-mêmes pour que la paroisse Saint-Remi devienne et demeure une communauté vivante, heureuse de croire en ce Dieu fait homme Jésus, le Christ, le Roi de l'Univers.

Réjouissons-nous et rendons grâce à Dieu. Il ne faut pas abandonner. Il ne faut pas ralentir le pas. Il ne faut pas que nous nous reposions sur nos lauriers.

Il faut, au contraire, que nous poursuivions notre route avec l'entrain qui nous caractérise, avec la foi qui nous anime. L'avenir, Dieu seul le connaît. Pas nous. Il y a cependant une chose que je sais et que vous savez tous: c'est que Dieu compte sur nous... compte sur moi et sur vous, pour que le nom de son Fils Jésus, pour que son message d’amour et de solidarité, soient annoncés à Ottawa: dans les familles, dans les lieux de travail et de loisirs... partout!

Au début de la vie de l'Église, Jésus n'a pas travaillé seul. Il a regroupé autour de lui des personnes en qui il a mis sa confiance, à qui il a donné des responsabilités. Jésus continue à œuvrer par l'intermédiaire de celles et de ceux qui croient en lui et qui l'aiment.

Dans la lettre aux Colossiens que nous venons d’entendre, Paul, commence par une prière de reconnaissance et d’action de grâce pour le rayonnement de la foi de ces chrétiens qu’il n’a jamais rencontré puisqu’il n’est jamais allé à Colosses; il a seulement entendu parler d’eux. (1,3)

C’est à cela que la liturgie de ce jour nous invite : terminer cette année liturgique, cette Année de la foi, en rendant grâce parce que dans le Christ Roi de l’Univers, nous sommes des pécheurs pardonnés. « Il nous a rendu capables ». Nous étions incapables d’aller à Dieu et c’est la venue du Fils qui rend possible l’accès plénier à Dieu, « D’avoir part à l’héritage des saints ».

Jésus est le premier dans le monde nouveau des ressuscités. Voilà à quoi nous sommes appelés, destinés. Jesus nous a arraché des ténèbres et nous a fait entrer dans son Royaume. Dieu nous introduit dans sa sphère divine. Alors que se termine l’Année de la foi, réalisons plus que jamais que ce n'est pas en vain que nous mettons toute notre foi dans le Seigneur, Lui qui a vaincu la mort et des ténèbres.

Depuis déjà plusieurs années, vous cherchez ici, à Saint-Remi, à vivre de la spiritualité de l’intendance chrétienne. Cette manière de vivre en communauté est bien enracinée dans l’enseignement de la Bible, et en particulier dans la vie de Jésus. Son dynamisme profond c’est la gratitude. C’est une spiritualité vraiment eucharistique. Elle répond au besoin que nous portons dans notre for intérieur de remercier Dieu pour les grâces abondantes que nous recevons de Lui.

Elle reconnaît que tout ce que nous avons, et tout ce que nous sommes vient de Dieu. Nous sommes des administrateurs, des intendants et non des propriétaires, d’une multitude de biens qui nous sont confiés.

Ces dons sont souvent identifiés comme notre temps, nos talents, notre trésor. Nous avons à les accueillir dans la gratitude, à veiller sur eux et les cultiver de façon responsable, à les partager dans la justice et l’amour, et à les faire fructifier devant Dieu pour que vienne son règne.

Aujourd’hui, en fêtant le Christ Roi, nous voyons bien que la royauté de Dieu n’a rien à voir avec les images habituelles que nous avons des rois. En effet, à nos oreilles, le titre de roi a des relents de triomphe, de puissance, de richesse, de privilèges, d’honneurs.

Or Jésus lui-même s’est expliqué tout à fait clairement sur sa conception à Lui d’être roi la veille de sa mort, au cours de son dernier repas : « Les rois des nations leur commandent et ceux qui exercent l’autorité se font appeler bienfaiteurs. Pour vous, qu’il n’en soit pas ainsi. Au contraire! Que le plus grand parmi vous se comporte comme le plus petit, et celui qui gouverne, comme celui qui sert… Moi, je suis au milieu de vous comme le serviteur. » (Luc 22,26)

La seule royauté de Jésus, c’est celle d’être « serviteur de Dieu ». C’est pour l’amour, c’est pour le service… qu’Il est le premier. C’est de l’amour qu’Il est vraiment roi. Telle est la royauté de notre Dieu. Oui, notre Dieu est un Dieu dont le règne est fait de douceur. Jésus règne sur les cœurs qui se laissent aimer. Le bon larron est notre modèle.

Seigneur, nous te remercions pour cette Année de la foi, pour ce temps de grâce. Nous croyons, Seigneur, mais nous te demandons d’augmenter notre foi. Que cette foi dispose nos cœurs à se purifier de tout ce qui nous éloigne de toi, afin que nous puissions proclamer avec saint Paul qu’il n’y a qu’un seul Seigneur, une seule foi, un seul baptême, un seul Dieu et Père de tous, qui règne au-dessus de tous, par tous, et en tous (Éphésiens 4,5-6).

Alors que les célébrations de la confirmation commenceront bientôt dans votre paroisse, il est bon de se rappeler que depuis le jour de la première Pentecôte, il nous est demandé de croire à la force de l'Esprit Saint qui habite en nous. Il nous est demandé de travailler ensemble. Il nous est demandé de nous faire mutuellement confiance et de mettre en œuvre des projets qui peuvent paraître parfois modestes mais qui apporteront, dans notre milieu, un peu d'espoir et de réconfort.

Il nous est demandé d'aimer assez le Christ et son Évangile pour proposer à ceux et celles qui ne les connaissent pas, ou les connaissent peu, ou les connaissent mal de s’approcher de Lui. Il nous est demandé de faire voir, autour de nous, que la vie selon l'Évangile, que l'amour vécu à la manière de Jésus, n'est pas un rêve mais un idéal à poursuivre patiemment et qui rend heureux.

Que l’Esprit Saint qu'il fasse de vous, paroissiennes et paroissiens de Saint-Remi, des disciples heureux de croire et heureux de faire retentir autour d'eux un Évangile qui, depuis deux mille ans, est porteur de lumière et d'espérance. Soyez toujours de bons intendants! C'est votre mission; que ce soit aussi votre fierté.

Que le Christ Roi vous bénisse. Qu'il vous aide à être de bons et de joyeux témoins de l'Évangile. Qu'il bénisse ceux et celles que vous aimez. Qu'il bénisse tous les membres de votre paroisse. À lui tout honneur et toute gloire, pour les siècles des siècles. Amen.

[Photos: Ronald Brisson]

Friday, November 15, 2013

Mass for Christian Community Day—Ottawa Catholic School Board

Ottawa Congress Centre—Friday, November 8, 2013
[Texts: Romans 15.1–7, 13–16 (Psalm 98); Luke 16.1–8]

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I recently returned from Rome where Pope Francis has everyone buzzing. He has been drawing crowds of close to a hundred thousand at his Wednesday audiences and Sunday Angelus addresses.

People are fascinated by him and how he relates to common folk, as well as by his comments on life in the Church. He has stirred up expectations. Many are hoping that our fresh pope will reform or renew the Church.

A key question is, are you and I open to an encounter with Christ? Any change must come from that encounter. This is what Pope Francis is all about.

He said as much when he asked bishops to tone down talk about certain moral issues. These topics are creating so much static that people cannot hear the most important message, the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Pope Francis wants to move the church away from ideological fixations of a moralizing sort and toward proclaiming the gospel. The order of church life must be inviting people to know God in Christ first. Then comes the moral order, as a response to coming to know God’s mercy, forgiveness, and joy.

Often, the order gets reversed and that’s where trouble occurs. This is where the issues of abortion, contraception, active homosexuality, and other life issues come in. Virtuous behaviour in these areas is a response to God’s grace. It is not a pre-condition to belonging to the community of God’s Kingdom and the Church.

Most people need a close walk with the Lord to understand why the Church says no to certain behaviour. Without Jesus deeply in one’s life, it is hard to understand these prohibitions. But how do people get to know Jesus? It is by God’s people—you and me—evangelizing and telling them about our Lord and Saviour.

You must share with your family, students, and associates, how Jesus has saved you, loved you, and healed you. It has to be done sensitively and respectfully, delicately and finely. Then you must let the Holy Spirit take over as you pray for that person.

Let me illustrate what I am getting at. Today’s gospel reading touches on the wise use of money. One understanding of the parable would place you in the key role: the manager or steward. As a steward, you are responsible for things—material things, your family, your time, and your soul.

But you don’t actually own them. They belong to the rich man—God. In this story, you have squandered the riches you were told to manage. The rich man is about to terminate you. What to do? You don’t want to beg for mercy or dig ditches for eternity.

You decide on radical giving to your debtors—poor people. You give away 50% of the oil that was owed to you and 20% of the wheat. Now, your boss commends you. But by calling you a child of light, Jesus reminds you that you are called not only to radical charity, but also to a close relationship with Christ.

Being good and doing good are just not enough. We can imitate Jean Vanier in doing good for the disabled and marginalized. But he, Mother Teresa, and the other great champions of Catholic social justice show us the extra step we need to be taking. We must spend an hour in prayer before serving.

Merely doing good without first seeking holiness will lead our students to conclude that they don’t need God or the Church. Many Catholic students and their families believe that they don’t need to be nourished by the Mass anymore. Sadly, by cutting themselves off from the vine, they cause the fruit of their lives to wither.

The trend toward strife, personal isolation, and burnout is increasingly evident. Sterile forms of doing good and even some forms of religion can become ideology. Pope Francis said, “Ideology does not beckon people. In ideologies there is not Jesus, in his tenderness, his love, his meekness.” The attitude becomes “rigid, moralistic, ethical but without kindness.”

The Pope, when asked how a Christian can become like this, answered, “Just one thing: this Christian does not pray.” You can reverse this in your circle of influence by your words and your example. You can help restore to God his inheritance: the children of light.

Christ tells us that we are called by the Heavenly Father to be not just good, but more than that. We are called to be holy. We are to become, as Matthew Kelly puts it, the best version of ourselves as Catholic Christians.

That’s what I hope our schools will help all who are part of the Catholic Community to claim as their vision: strong, holy men and women who are both good citizens of Canada and of God’s Kingdom of holiness, justice, love and truth.

The conclusion of today’s gospel “Make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes” is just part of Jesus’ interest in money.

Money is the second most popular topic in the Gospels after the Kingdom of God. Jesus noted that money can become a tyrannical master, a veritable rival to God. Jesus concluded, “You cannot serve God and money.”

Returning to today’s parable, the way to avoid idolizing money is to recognize that everything we have is on loan to us. We are but stewards. Hoarding is not an option.

The way is not easy. You have a mortgage to pay, children to raise, elderly parents to look after. There are things you need and things you want. There are countless worthy causes. You have precious little time to think, let alone pray. How does a Christian get out of this bind and find peace?

First off, Jesus urged his followers not to be anxious, for “each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6.34). His followers are to “set your hearts on God’s Kingdom, and these other things [food, clothing, relationships] will be given you as well” (Luke 12.31).

Christians should recognize, too, that different people praying for inspiration about what to do will come to quite different conclusions. We should not be surprised at this today, for this was the experience of the early church.

Jesus told the rich young man to sell all he had and to give it to the poor (Luke 18.18–23). By contrast, Zacchaeus reformed his life, making restitution for fraud and giving generously to God’s poor (Luke 19.1–10). The women who followed Jesus helped sustain his ministry with their resources (Luke 8.1–3).

However, all are called to seek first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6.3) and to share the Good News that Jesus has come to save us (Mark 16.15).

Your encounter with Christ will help you realize that your time and treasure are not your own. There is freedom in trusting in his Providence through radical giving.

Whatever the choices the Lord Jesus calls you to embrace, let us pray that we may know the path we are called to follow and embark on it to God’s praise and glory.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

To Remember a Long-lived Jesuit

This is to acknowledge the passing of my Novice Master (1961-63) on Sunday. Our paths crossed only a few times after the noviceship but he was invariably kind. When I was Archbishop of Halifax, he went out of his way to welcome me warmly to the parish in Shad Bay for Confirmations in his three-point charge. Afterwards he insisted on reporting to me on his views on various church matters, sort of a reversal of my reporting to him forty years before as a novice.  He was very humble about it all and I was touched by his simplicity.  Here is a version of the obituary sent to his Jesuit brethren. R.I.P.

Father Leonard John Fischer died on Sunday, November 10th 2013 at Pickering, Ontario in his 97th year of life, his 78th year of religious life and 67th of priesthood.

The son of George and Magdalen (Dietrich) Fischer and brother of Father Clair Fischer, S.J. (died: May 2010), Leonard was born in Preston, Ontario on February 26, 1917. He entered the Society of Jesus on August 14, 1935 in Guelph, and remained there until the summer of 1939. After being ssigned to study Philosophy at the Jesuit Seminary, Toronto for three years, he was sent in the fall of 1942 to Regiopolis College, Kingston, Ontario to teach, after which he went to West Baden College, in Indiana, for four years of theological studies. Ordained to the priesthood on June 18, 1947, by Bishop Paul Schulte of Indianapolis, he went, following his fourth year of theology to Tertianship (a final year of Jesuit spiritual formation) beginning in 1948 at Mont-Laurier, Quebec, under Fr. A. Papillon's direction.

For the next 16 years, Father Fischer would reside at Ignatius College, Guelph, first as Assistant to the Master of Novices (for 7 years) and then as Master of Novices (beginning in 1956 for 9 years). It is estimated that 40% of the English-speaking Canadian Jesuit Province met him in one capacity or the other during those years.

Following this tenure, he had a year of studies in Paris where he was given some original writing of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin by members of Teilhard’s family. He used this material as a basis for theological studies at St. Paul’s University, Ottawa and while there was for four years assistant secretary of the Canadian Religious Conference.

Father Fischer’s next assignment was to St. John’s, Newfoundland, where he was parish priest at St. Pius X Parish for 12 years and built the new church. Beginning in 1982, at the age of 65, he began a new ministry among the Native Peoples of Ontario, committing himself to learning the local, native language. He worked as a parish priest in Sturgeon Falls and Garden Village, West Bay, Espanola, Sagamok and Massey, Ontario. This continued until 1996 when he moved to the Halifax Jesuit Community and served as pastor at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Shad Bay, N.S., and then at St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Halifax. In 2003, he became an Associate Pastor at Holy Rosary Parish, Guelph, Ontario. He joined the Pickering community in 2012.

Father Len worked at all these tasks with stolid Germanic determination. Faithful to the Church and the Society of Jesus, he read theology throughout his life. He underwent several changes during his lifetime and came to see himself and the world differently, becoming more compassionate as the years went on.

Father Len was musical, played the mouth organ and had perfect pitch; he delighted parishioners by singing during his homilies. He was personable and open to learning and taking on new ministries. From a large family, he is survived by many nephews and nieces; grand-nephews and grand nieces and even some thirty-five grand, grand nephews and grand, grand nieces.

Fittingly for one who was novice master in Guelph for many years, his funeral will be celebrated tomorrow morning, November 13, which in the Jesuit ordo is the feast of St. Stanislaus Kostka, who died as a novice in Rome and is the patron of Jesuit novices. It will take place in the city where he served as assistant to and novice master, in the Church of Holy Rosary Parish, where, from 2003-2012 he served as associate pastor when he was in his late 80’s and early 90s. Burial will be in the Jesuit Cemetery in the afternoon.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

To Honour a Saintly Brother

While much attention is given to Hallowe'en today, in the Jesuit Order we honour the feast of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez who foreshadowed the life of our St. Andre Bessette in his role as door-keeper.  He had a marvellous influence on many who came and went at the Jesuit College, including on St. Peter Claver, whom he helped discern a call to serve the slaves in Colombia.  Here is the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins's tribute to him:

In Honour of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, Lay Brother of the Society of Jesus

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Honour is flashed off exploit, so we say;

And those strokes once that gashed flesh or galled shield

Should tongue that time now, trumpet now that field,

And, on the fighter, forge his glorious day.

On Christ they do and on the martyr may;

But be the war within, the brand we wield

Unseen, the heroic breast not outward-steeled,

Earth hears no hurtle then from fiercest fray.

Yet God (that hews mountain and continent,

Earth, all, out; who, with trickling increment,

Veins violets and tall trees makes more and more)

Could crowd career with conquest while there went

Those years and years by of world without event

That in Majorca Alfonso watched the door.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Bp Richard Gagnon Transferred - Becomes Archbishop of Winnipeg

Today it was announced in Rome that His Holiness Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend James Weisgerber as Archbishop of Winnipeg, according to canon 401 §1, and appointed the Most Reverend Richard Gagnon, currently Bishop of Victoria in British Columbia, as Archbishop of Winnipeg. The Holy Father has appointed Most Reverend James Weisgerber as Apostolic Administrator of Winnipeg until the new Archbishop takes canonical possession of the Archdiocese.

Congratulations, Your Excellency!  Ad multos annos!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pastoral Visit to Rockland Parish

Visite pastorale à la paroisse “Très-sainte-Trinité”— Rockland, ON
28e dimanche du temps ordinaire—Année “C”—12-13 octobre 2013

[Textes: 2 Rois 5, 14-17; [Psaume 98]; 2 Timothée 2, 8-13; Luc 17, 11-19]

Cher frères et sœurs dans le Seigneur,

La semaine dernière, j’ai eu le bonheur de rendre visite aux élèves des écoles Sainte-Trinité et L’Escale. J’ai réalisé combien ces élèves étaient chanceux de pouvoir étudier dans des écoles catholiques de langue française.

Notre tâche à nous tous est de les aider à accueillir la foi qui leur est proposée – voilà le défi de la ‘nouvelle évangélisation’ : chacun de nous a à faire sa propre conversion, son propre cheminement comme nous le rappelle le pape François.

Le Saint-Père nous met au défi de voir notre foi autrement que comme le glaçage sur un gâteau ou une espèce de parfum. La foi doit faire partie de notre identité, de qui nous sommes en tant qu’être humain, en tant que personnes qui ont la foi.

Au cours de cette visite, j’ai également eu l’occasion de discuter avec quelques représentants de votre paroisse. Nous avons échangé sur les forces et les défis qui se présentent, sur les préoccupations qui vous habitent, et les nombreux bienfaits que nous partageons ensemble.

J’ai voulu me mettre à l’écoute de leurs observations et bien saisir la richesse de leur pensée. Ils ont parlé avec leur cœur et avec beaucoup de gratitude de leur pasteur qui les a accompagnés et guidés sur le chemin de la foi ces neuf dernières années. Ils ont parlé de leur espoir de voir la paroisse continuer de fleurir dans l’avenir, tout particulièrement durant les mois qui viennent alors que vous vous préparez à célébrer votre 125e anniversaire.

Plusieurs personnes ont dit trouver force et courage, soutien et joie dans cette communauté chrétienne. Vous avez de quoi être reconnaissants en effet! Continuez de vous soutenir les uns les autres dans un amour fraternel alors que vous cheminez ensemble dans la foi, l’espérance et charité.

En cette fin de semaine de l’Action de grâce, la Parole de Dieu mets sous nos yeux une personne reconnaissante.

Ça nous interpelle… sommes-nous des personnes reconnaissantes, capables de dire merci ?

La quatrième préface commune nous invite à rendre grâce à Dieu pour le salut qu’il nous offre: « Tu n’as pas besoin de notre louange, et pourtant c’est toi qui nous inspires de te rendre grâce : nos chants n’ajoutent rien à ce que tu es, mais ils nous rapprochent de toi ».

Le passage de l’Évangile que nous venons d’entendre peut nous amener à nous demander pourquoi certaines personnes semblent incapables de dire merci. Est-ce parce qu’elles ne pensent qu’à elles-mêmes ou parce qu’elles croient qu’elles méritent toujours davantage que ce qu’elles ont reçu?

Ce n’est pas à nous d’en juger. Nous n’avons aucune idée pourquoi des personnes qui ont pourtant reçu une multitude de bienfaits demeurent incapables de s’arrêter et dire merci pour tout ce qu’elles ont reçu. Il s’agit-là d’un des mystères du cœur humain.

Lorsque Jésus pris la parole dans une synagogue à Nazareth pour nous présenter le sens de sa mission (Luc 4, 16-30), il cita la guérison de Naaman le Syrien (2 Rois 5, 8-19) pour expliquer qu’il s’agissait-là d’un précédent dans l’histoire du salut et que, comme ce fut le cas pour le prophète Élisée, Dieu l’a envoyé apporter le salut aux personnes rejetées.

Si Jésus porte une attention particulière aux personnes rejetées, aux exclus, c’est peut-être parce qu’ils sont plus ouverts que les autres à accueillir et à reconnaître l’œuvre de Dieu dans leur vie. Après avoir été guéri, Naaman reconnu que l’action de Dieu l’avait sauvé de sa misère et il s’exclama ‘‘Je le sais désormais : il n’y a pas d’autre Dieu, sur toute la terre, que celui d’Israël’’.

Les dix lépreux rencontrèrent Jésus à la limite, à l’entrée, du village où il se rendait. Ils se tinrent à distance comme il avait été dans les Écritures [Nombres 5, 2-3 et dans le Lévitique 13, 45-46].

D’une seule voix, ils crièrent à Jésus – espérant peut-être qu’il leur ferait l’aumône – ‘’Jésus, maître, prends pitié de nous’’.

Luc rapporte que Jésus commanda aux lépreux d’aller se montrer aux prêtres – à ceux-là mêmes qui avaient l’autorité pour déclarer qu’ils ne présentaient plus un risque pour la santé des autres et qu’ils pouvaient être réintégrés dans la société.

Grâce à Jésus, la parole de Dieu guérit les dix lépreux mais cette guérison ne s’est pas produite instantanément. Elle se réalisa alors qu’ils étaient en chemin pour aller se montrer aux prêtres. Luc nous raconte qu’à un moment donné un des lépreux s’aperçu qu’il avait été guéri et il ‘ revint sur ses pas, en glorifiant Dieu à pleine voix’.

Ce que ce lépreux a réalisé ce n’est pas seulement qu’il était guéri, mais surtout qu’il avait été guéri par Dieu agissant en Jésus.

Tout ce que ce lépreux ressentait dans son cœur se manifesta dans ce geste : ‘Il se jeta la face contre terre aux pieds de Jésus en lui rendant grâce’. Sa gratitude était sans limites!

Jésus demanda alors : ‘‘Et les neufs autres, où sont-ils?’’ Seul cet étranger, ce Samaritain est revenu lui dire merci. Il fut le seul à reconnaître l’action de Dieu. Jésus reconnu en son geste un acte de foi : ‘Va : ta foi t’a sauvé’.

Il y a quelques années, un sondage fait auprès de riches américains révéla que la moitié des personnes reconnues par leurs paires comme ayant particulièrement bien réussi, n’étaient pas heureuses.

Cela nous enseigne peut-être que pour connaître le bonheur il est nécessaire de ‘voir’– un peu comme ce lépreux venu de la Samarie – que c’est la main de Dieu qui distribue ses bienfaits dans nos vies (même si nous avons parfois le sentiment d’avoir ‘réussi’ à force de travailler fort) et de développer en nous le goût de répondre à Dieu avec gratitude. N’est-ce pas là ce que nous enseigne Jésus en qui nous mettons notre foi?

En ces jours où nous fêtons l’Action de grâce, demandons-nous si nous sommes suffisamment reconnaissants pour tous ces dons que nous avons reçu de ce Dieu d’amour que nous connaissons en la personne de Jésus-Christ : santé, bien-être, famille, travail, collègues, amis, notre paroisse et notre pays.

Et que dire de tous ces bienfaits que nous avons reçus de Dieu : nous avons été créés à l’image et à la ressemblance de Dieu; le Christ est venu nous sauver; et que dire de toutes ces grâces auxquelles nous avons accès chaque jour de par notre vie en Église.

Saint Paul se montra reconnaissant envers le Seigneur pour tous ses bienfaits, alors même qu’il fut emprisonné pour avoir proclamé l’Évangile. Paul reconnu qu’il pourrait lui arriver d’être infidèle mais savait que ce ne sera jamais le cas pour le Christ Jésus (Si nous sommes infidèles, lui, il restera fidèle, car il ne peut se renier lui-même)

C’est cette confiance en Jésus qui nous permet d’aller de l’avant sans crainte pour l’avenir. Aller de l’avant dans la joie, le cœur remplis de gratitude!