Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Late May Miscellaney of People, Places, Events, Et cetera

Holy Redeemer Church—Kanata, Ontario
Saturday before Pentecost
May 18, 2013

[Texts: Acts 28.16–20, 30–31 (Psalm 11); John 21.20–25]

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Priestly vocations, whether to the diocesan priesthood or within a religious congregation or a community of apostolic life are, at their core, remarkably similar. Still, each call is also unique. As they grow in their call to the priesthood, our brothers strive to fathom the mystery that God has had them in mind from all eternity for the special ministry of the presbyterate.

As they live out their call, priests come face-to-face with health issues, spiritual battles, and struggles of the sort to which anyone in our modern world can fall prey. They need the support and prayers of parishioners, of family, of friends and, as we are focusing on today, of intercessors in a maternal role. These special women undertake to support a priest’s needs by offering daily sacrifices and prayers. They obtain for priests the graces they need personally and in their ministry.

As each believer follows his or her own special path of discipleship, we all face one common, profound struggle. Paul experienced it in the first reading. Peter and the Beloved Disciple confronted it in the gospel. It is allowing God to take the lead from the start of our vocational journey until its last stages.

For Paul, this meant being taken as a prisoner in chains to Rome. There, he would give his life for Christ. But Christians believe there is no chaining of the Word of God. The Book of Acts makes this point by concluding with two adverbs to indicate that God’s Good News of salvation was proclaimed at the heart of the Roman Empire “openly and unhindered.” What an encouraging stimulus for us, we who are committed to the new evangelization of our time!

Peter’s way of glorifying God would also mean being bound and led to crucifixion in Rome. It is alluded to in the opening words of today’s gospel. Peter then asked Jesus about the beloved disciple’s future. Jesus asked him to lay aside such preoccupations. He invited Peter to take the only path necessary, “Follow me!”

When we hear these ideals, we are moved by them. But we are also awed when we consider our limitations. How comforting, then, is today, the last of the Great Fifty Days of Easter. We know as Pentecost approaches, of St. Paul’s conviction that the Holy Spirit aids us in our fellowship with one another in the church. “The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” The same Holy Spirit guides the spiritual mothers of priests in their intercession.

Christian service of others, and especially priestly care of the Lord’s flock, is not to be carried out with our own agendas or motives. We must put on the mind of Christ. And so the priests, who are our brothers and the particular focus of our thoughts and prayers, are challenged to yearn to serve only by the dispositions of the Heart of our Saviour. Daily, they are to draw strength and courage from union with their Lord in prayer, particularly in the Eucharist, so that they can serve as Jesus did.

Earlier this week, our Holy Father Pope Francis spoke about the challenges facing priests in every age, including our own. “We [bishops and priests] need your prayers,” he said, “for, even the bishop and the priest may be tempted.” Bishops and priests should pray much, proclaim Jesus Christ Risen, and “boldly preach the message of salvation.” However, he said, “We are men and we are sinners,” and, “we are tempted.”

So , the Pope observes, “when a priest, a bishop goes after money, the people do not love him–and that’s a sign. But he ends badly.” St. Paul reminds us that he worked with his hands. “He did not have a bank account, he worked, and when a bishop, a priest goes on the road to vanity, he enters into the spirit of careerism–and this hurts the Church very much–[and] ends up being ridiculous: he boasts, he is pleased to be seen, all powerful–and the people do not like that!”

“Pray for us,” the Pope repeated, “that we might be poor, that we might be humble, meek, in the service of the people… pray, pray for us bishops and priests. We have such need in order to stay faithful, to be men who watch over the flock and also over ourselves, who make the vigil their own, that their heart be always turned to [the Lord’s] flock. [Pray] also that the Lord might defend us from temptation, because if we go on the road to riches, if we go on the road to vanity, we become wolves and not shepherds.”

Dear spiritual mothers of priests, of all people, your tender hearts feel the pain caused by errant priests. The reparation you offer to console the Heart of Jesus is of inestimable value in the restoration of a priest who has fallen into a pattern of indifference, offences, and betrayals. When you commend his soul and his ministry to Christ’s mercy and seek the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, he cannot hide from the divine love you have released! The Church is also grateful for your prayers for the healing of souls scandalized, alienated, or wounded by the sins of priests.

As he has been doing since his election, Pope Francis reminds us to be faithful to the paschal mystery. We do so by becoming part of a church that is made up of the poor, that is for the poor. We gather into the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church the broken and the healthy, the poor and the wealthy, the sinners and the saints, around the same altar of sacrifice, the table of the Lord. God calls our priests to help them all—us all—to become a Eucharistic people. God created us to be nourished by His Word and His Sacrament. And your prayers, dear spiritual mothers of priests, share in this spiritual dynamic.

With the whole church, you are praying that the priests to whom you are committed, not turn away from the hope that the gospel offers. You prepare their destiny to flourish as humble servants in the Vineyard of the Lord. In keeping with the tenth promise of the Sacred Heart, God will give them the graces they need to touch the most hardened hearts. May this reality be so in the Church Universal, but in a particular way here in the Archdiocese of Ottawa!
* * * * * *

Again this year, I was privileged to speak to Native Leaders from across Canada at a week-long program held at St. Paul's University.  My challenge was to help them see the Bible as a whole and as a basis for nurturing their spiritual lives and service to God's people.  Above is a photo taken with the participants and some of the resource people.

The May long-weekend has been for 15 years the occasion for Kateri Native Ministry, guided by Director John Corston,  to hold a healing weekend.  I attended the Saturday afternoon and evening sessions at the Marguerite Centre in Pembroke.

Besides the music ministry and other testimonies and teachings, special guests included the parents and sisters of Jake Finkbonner, the 13 year-old whose sudden recovery from the flesh-eating disease that doctors assessed as terminal.  His recovery has been attributed to the prayers to God through the intercession of Kateri Tekakwitha; the Holy See's examiners determined that the recovery was medically inexplicable and co-incided with placing of a relic of the Native saint next to his body. The whole family has been involved in testifying to God's goodness in granting Jake's recovery through St. Kateri's intercession and their witness moved the participants to grow in hope for personal recovery. 

La famille Finkbonner partage les grâces reçues à travers le miracle pour Jake par l’intercession de Sainte Kateri Tekakwitha:

* * * * * *


Yesterday, the nominations of pastoral appointments were released and they indicate the arrival of priests to serve in the Archdiocese of Ottawa.

A community new to us this summer is the Society of the Divine Saviour (Salvatorians, the abbreviation is SDS), who will take charge of Divine Infant Parish in Orleans.  They will also share with us in the Archdiocese their understanding of the Divine Mercy spirituality.  Shown above on a recent visit are (left to right): Fathers Waldemar Podlasz, pastor, Maciej Wos, Canadian Regional Superior and Krystian Golisz, associate pastor. 

* * * * * *

Pictured above is Father Gilles Njobam, a Claretian (abbreviation CMF), who became associate pastor at Holy Cross Parish at the beginning of May.
* * * * * *

Last week, Mgr Daniel Berniquez (who besides being the francophone Episcopal Vicar also is responsible for relations with those living the Consecrated Life) and I visited with the Missionaries of Africa residence on Argyle Street next to Holy Korean Martyrs Church.  After a lovely dinner and conversation we posed for a photo on the front stairs (the magazine describes the community's missionary activity).
* * * * * *

This week's blog is being posted from Toronto where this morning at 9:30 I will preside at the Jesuit diaconal and priestly ordinations at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. I am enjoying the hospitality of Pedro Arrupe House where I had lived from 1983-87.

Prior to my departure for Toronto, I had been hosted for dinner by long-time Toronto friends Gail and Bruce Young (above).

On arrival, I was treated to an evening at the Opera, being thoroughly moved by Poulenc's Dialogue des Carmelites in the presence of Jacques Monet, s.j. and Anne Delicaet (below).

* * * * * *

Yesterday, I dropped in for Mass and lunch at the Newman Club, which is this year celebrating the Centennial of its foundation.  There will be a special Mass of Thanksgiving on Sunday, June 9 at 11am, presided by Toronto Auxiliary Bishop William T. McGrattan, followed by a reception, and another Mass of Thanksgiving that evening at 7pm.

For several years (1995-1998) I was the unofficial bishop-chaplain to the Newman Centre and always enjoyed chatting with the resident campus ministry leaders, who witness to like ministering to like: students and academics serving fellow students and other academics.

 Pictured below (left to right) are Patrick Douglas, Director of JR and Operations, Josh Canning, Director of Chaplaincy and Father Chris Cauchi, Pastor and Executive Director.

The Newman Centre's St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel

* * * * * *


A la Pentecôte, chaque année je préside à la basilique-cathédrale Notre Dame les Confirmations d’adultes et d’adolescents qui non pas pu, pour une raison ou l’autre être confirmés. C’est toujours un événement de grande joie!

The Confirmation of Adults and Older Teens is always a joyous celebration each Solemnity of Pentecost at Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica. There were some fifty confirmands at noon and another forty-plus at 5PM.  This coming Sunday at noon, youngsters in Grades 6-8 who missed earlier opportunity for their Confirmation will receive the sacrament at the cathedral's noon Mass.


The Blessed Mother and the Apostles at Pentecost (Notre Dame Sanctuary)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bishop Miehm's Ordination - March for Life - St. Hyacinth Confirmations - Visit to Divine Infant - NET Board - Ven. Michael McGivney Honoris - Six Years Ago

Last Tuesday, I atttended the episcopal ordination of Bishop Daniel Miehm, Auxiliary Bishop of Hamilton.  A joyous occasion for all in attendance.

* * * * * *


The weather was sunny and warm last Thursday for the successful March for Life (more than 20,000 taking part), even though rain and thundershowers had been foretold.

Archbishop Lepine preached at the Cathedral, where I presided at the Eucharist with Archbishop O'Brien, Bishop Fabbro CSB, Bishop Pazak, CSsR concelebrating.  Other bishops taking part in the Masses were Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop Gerald Cyprien Lacroix, Bishops Marcel Damphousse, Nicola De Angelis, CFIC,  Michael Mulhall and Noel Simard.

The Eastern Rite prayer service around 4 o'clock after the March was completed took place in front of the Peace Tower.  Though I do not have a photo from the service, the homily is reproduced below, illustrated with photos from the day.

Reflection on Parliament Hill at the March for Life—May 9, 2013
[Luke 1.39-49, 56]

Bishop Pazak, brothers in the presbyterate and diaconate, dear brothers and sisters in the Lord:

The beautiful text on the encounter of Elizabeth and her kinswoman Mary during which Elizabeth’s son leapt in her womb as Mary with Jesus in her womb drew near in welcome is a wonderful context for our reflection in prayer at this closing ceremony on Parliament Hill at this 2013 edition of the March for Life. What joy should be ours as we contemplate life in the womb and what sadness should be ours as we consider its destruction!

Some years ago, Blessed Pope John Paul II observed that “a society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying.” Today in Canada, we are living with a great evil that is causing untold suffering–the scourge of abortion. Some in society cast the abortion debate as a matter of human rights. They argue that any limit on abortions violates the rights of women to complete autonomy. But there is a deafening silence as to the real cost of abortion on women, men, preborn children, and society.

The moral evil of abortion has far-reaching effects. It is not only a matter between a woman and her physician. Not only is a human life destroyed in the womb—which should be the safest place for a human being to be—but many women later profoundly regret their decision to have an abortion. They, and the fathers of their children, often later suffer feelings of anxiety and despair as the consequences of an abortion. This reality gets little or no public recognition because it challenges the assertion that abortion is merely a medical procedure comparable to minor cosmetic surgery. That is simply not the case. Ignoring, or worse, hiding the real effects of abortion does women, children, men and families a great disservice. The effects have physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions, as we have just heard in the testimony by the women taking part in “Silent No More”. We rightly demand accountability and full disclosure in our financial dealings with institutions, as well as from our physicians. So why is the whole truth of abortion and its effects being hidden from the public?

We need to challenge the false idea that abortion is merely a personal decision. The truth is abortion hurts everyone–the developing child in the womb, the mother, the father, the extended family, the community and even our culture. We need to be witnesses to our God-given dignity as human beings. We are created and loved by God from the moment of conception, called into being to be united with God. We were made to love and serve one another in Christ Jesus.

One of the victims of abortion, let us call her Joanne, is a 20-year-old university student. A neighbour noticed that she was often teary-eyed in the residence hallway. When he visited her room, he couldn’t help notice all the baby pictures on her wall. She explained that that was what her child would have looked like, had she not had an abortion. She hadn’t been to Mass since the abortion, convinced that God now despised her. Her neighbour told her that Jesus would forgive her if only she asked.

In the struggle to end abortion, we must not lose sight of the need for compassion and healing for the Joann’s who suffer in the wake of this wrong choice. There is a stereotype that the Catholic Church is harsh and judgemental on the ‘abortion issue.’ The deceit maintains that Catholics only care about the baby and not about the mother (and father). But the Catholic Church does not abandon those women and men who struggle to come to terms with their decision. In the painful aftermath of abortion, when mothers and fathers realize the full import of their decision, despair and feelings of worthlessness often arise. Into this darkness, the Church shines the warm, penetrating light of Christ’s mercy and forgiveness for the repentant. The Sacrament of Reconciliation provides an opportunity to experience God’s forgiveness for the person who sorrowfully approaches our loving heavenly Father for mercy and healing. There is no sin, no matter how great, that God cannot forgive.

As Catholic Christians, we need to be agents of healing and mercy, not pitiless judges. One of the most powerful scenes in the New Testament is in the Gospel of John. Jesus confronts the accusers of the woman caught committing adultery and says, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone” (John 8.7). The point of this encounter is that we all are in need of God’s mercy and forgiveness because we are all sinners. Are we able to love another as Christ has loved us first? We will not win the struggle to end abortion with polemics. We will win it with truth spoken in love, and with mercy and forgiveness for those suffering from the effects of this moral disease.

Being pro-life is about treasuring and respecting the reality of each human life, from the very moment when it came into existence. It is a unique expression of humanity that shares in the life and dignity of Christ–whatever its condition, its struggles, or its expression. But as committed Catholic Christians, we must not only protect human life from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death. We must also show compassion for those who suffer in the devastating aftermath of the evil of abortion. Sometimes the challenge of being Pro-Life can be overwhelming in the light of modern culture. To encourage us, Blessed Pope John Paul II reminds us of this important truth, “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song”! How apt for today when Christians following the Julian calendar are celebrating the Octave of Easter, while those following the Gregorian calendar are celebrating or preparing to celebrate the Risen Lord’s Ascension into glory, becoming for all eternity in heaven the Lord of Life!

Being Pro-Life means being a person of faith, hope and compassionate love. We see the full scope of the evil of abortion. We reach out to love and care for not only the preborn, but also for the other victims of abortion: the mothers, fathers and families. They often silently deal with its aftermath in doubt and despair.

I challenge you also to treat kindly those who oppose us. Be steadfast but do not be harsh. Your loving witness and your persistent prayers will soften their hearts.

\In closing, I would like to quote from the first Letter of Peter. “Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart” (1 Peter 1.22).

May God bless you, and may Our Lady of Guadalupe, the guardian of the life of God’s people, watch over you always.

* * * * * *

On Saturday evening, I celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation with some 36 candidates (mostly adolescents, but with several adults) at St. Hyacinth Parish, directed by the Oblate Fathers.

After the Mass, a reception was held in the parish hall. 

* * * * * *

On Sunday morning, I had a quick visit to Divine Infant Parish in Orleans on the Solemnity of the Ascension (which was also Mother's Day).

After the second Mass, I had a chance to greet some families and to pose with the seminarian intern Matthew Chojna and Pastor Father Frank Brewer and associate Father Hezuk Shroff.

* * * * * *

NET Canada Board Members met at my residence on Saturday
to encourage the evangelization of youth

L’abbé Fernand Carrière fête 65 ans d’ordination sacerdotale jeudi, 16 mai;
le voici avec une bénédiction papale reçu du Pape François

* * * * * *


On Saturday, representatives of the Knights of Columbus (local, provincial and from Supreme HQ) came together for Mass at St. Patrick's Basilica for Mass and a ceremony of dedication of the Honoris of the Venerable Father Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, in the Scavi (the parish hall). Refreshments were served afterwards.

* * * * * *


O God, who assigned Saint Matthias a place in the college of Apostles, grant us, through his intercession, that, rejoicing at how your love has been allotted to us, we may merit to be numbered among the elect. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever
* * *

The Feast of St. Matthias in 2007 was the occasion of my nomination as Archbishop of Ottawa.  On that day, Emeritus-Archbishop Marcel Gervais presented me with a sweater of the home town Senators (which effected a conversion from my life-long attachment to my hometown Canadiens).
Fortuitously, today is the start of the second round of the playoffs--now Ottawa is Canada's lone remaining playoff contender.  Go, Sens, Go!