Monday, October 31, 2011

Welcome Child #7 Billion - Une visite avec des jeunes dominicains




Isn't she pretty?

The world's seven billionth baby has been born in a packed government-run hospital in the Philippines.

Weighing 2.5kg (5.5lb), Danica May Camacho was chosen by the United Nations to be one of several children around the world who will symbolically represent the global population milestone.

She was delivered just before midnight on Sunday amid an explosion of press camera flashes at Manila's Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital.

Welcome! May she flourish and bring joy to her family, and may many children like her be welcomed everywhere in God's creation!

* * *

Psalm 8


To the leader: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.
Lord, our Sovereign,
   how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.
   Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
   to silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
   the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
   mortals that you care for them?

Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
   and crowned them with glory and honour.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
   you have put all things under their feet,
all sheep and oxen,
   and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
   whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Sovereign,
   how majestic is your name in all the earth!


* * * * * *


Jeunes profès dominicains à Ottawa


 

Jeudi soir, j’ai visité la communauté dominicaine pour les vêpres et j’ai diné avec les jeunes profès et leurs directeurs, partageant leurs histories vocationnelles, leurs aspirations et projets d’études et leurs possibilités pour engagement dans la vie de l’archidiocèse.


 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday before All Saints, All Souls

The Risen Christ by "Il Bergognone" (Ambrogio da Fossano, 1453-1523)
Baptistery Chapel of the Milan Cathedral (Photo by Giovanni Dall'Orto [2007])

THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Almighty and merciful God, by whose gift your faithful offer you right and praiseworthy service, grant, we pray, that we may hasten without stumbling to receive the things you have promised. Through our Lord.


* * * * * *


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Photos from the Archbishop's Benefit Dinner - 4ième Souper bénéfice de l’Archevêque




Allocution de l’Archevêque au/Archbishop’s Remarks at the
4th Archbishop’s Benefit Dinner/ 4ième Souper-Bénéfice de l’Archevêque
Archidiocèse d’Ottawa/Archdiocese of Ottawa
Hampton Inn—Ottawa, ON
26 octobre/October 26, 2011

« The Future of Humanity Passes by Way of the Family »--John Paul II





Your Excellency, Reverend Fathers, dear Religious Sisters, dear Members and Friends of the Archdiocese of Ottawa and supporters of life and the family:

Excellence, révérends Pères, chères Sœurs, chers membres et amis de l’Archidiocèse d’Ottawa et promoteurs et promotrices de la vie et la famille,

Le 13 août 1961, un adolescent timide et bilingue de Montréal a quitté son domicile et sa famille pour se joindre aux Jésuites de langue anglaise à Guelph, Ontario. Je suis reconnaissant de l’amour et de l’affirmation que j’ai reçus de mes parents, qui m’ont donné la confiance et le courage de partir vers ma vocation à un âge si tendre.

* * *









The topic of this evening’s benefit dinner is the well-being of families today and the challenges we face to strengthen married couples and family life. I will talk a little about my own family to give some context to the new realities of family life. In the family, we find our roots, our identity. The love of the family is the good soil in which we grow.

We sometimes idealize the support structure offered by multi-generational families in bygone times, but I did not experience grandparents taking care of us. Except for my blind and frail maternal grandmother, who lived briefly with us when I was eight and died in 1953, I did not know my grandparents. Nor did my parents have the support of their parents in their project of marriage and a family. My dad’s mother died giving birth to him. His father died in Newfoundland in 1947 when I was three. My mom’s father died in the Spanish influenza outbreak of 1918-1919. I admire my parents’ strength in the face of these losses. Mortality was a key aspect of family life in the last century, and it often shaped the personalities of the survivors.

There have always been loss and mourning in family life, which used to lead to a form of stoicism. Today, communication is more open and emotions are expressed more freely, which I think is healthier. However, today’s experiences of loss and abandonment, through abortion, separation, and absent parents, are mostly wilful. My sense is that the wounds today are deeper and the need for healing is greater than ever.

People didn’t travel far until recent times and most of my mom’s sisters and brothers had migrated to the southern United States and Canada’s west coast. We saw them on occasional summers and then only briefly. We did, however, get lots of family news, because my mom was an exceptional correspondent. I got letters from her almost every week from the time I left home in 1961 until her death in 1988. I was constantly reminded of the roots and branches of my family tree.

The experience in my youth of newcomers to North America is one of Europeans, mostly English-speaking, settling in lands not too different culturally from their origins. Today, many families new to Canada come a greater distance geographically and culturally, and need more help to adapt. English as a second language—ESL—has become a major component of the curriculum in some Ottawa schools.

* * *

Et le français comme langue seconde dans d’autres écoles.

Nous nous sommes installés dans le quartier du Nord de Montréal appelé Ahuntsic, situé sur la rivière des Prairies, que nous avons surnommée « the Back River ». Ma famille avait comme chefs : papa, John Vincent, né à Cupids, Terre-Neuve et maman, Marion Bridget, née à Widnes, Angleterre. Ils se sont rencontrés et mariés à Montréal et avaient quatre fils, Vincent, Terrence, Kevin et John-- et une fille Marion.

Quelque cinquante ans plus tard, en raison des mariages de mes frères et ma sœur, je suis maintenant le fier oncle de douze neveux et nièces et le grand-oncle de huit petits-neveux et petites-nièces. Dispersés à travers l'Amérique du Nord aujourd'hui, mais principalement au Québec et en Ontario, nous nous voyons que rarement et pour de courtes rencontres. Pourtant, je suis profondément attaché à ma famille d'origine et j'ai hâte aux occasions de nous revoir. Mon arbre généalogique a germé plusieurs branches!

Au printemps dernier, alors que j’étais en Irlande comme Visiteur apostolique à l'archidiocèse de Tuam, j'ai été ému lors de ma visite à la ville où le père de ma maman était né. J’ai examiné les registres paroissiaux et j’ai lu où son baptême avait été enregistré. Par le baptême, Thomas Skerry était devenu un membre de la grande famille de la foi, la famille de l'Église, notre deuxième famille. Et l'Église a conservé un dossier de mes racines familiales.

Il est un trésor précieux de savoir qui étaient mes parents et mes grands-parents. Je suis ferme dans mon identité. Je connais certaines choses sur ma génétique. J'ai des relations claires avec mes proches. Mais c’est un trésor qui se fait de plus en plus rare. Les nouvelles réalités des technologies de reproduction, de la monoparentalité et des familles reconstituées sont des immenses défis pastoraux. Mais l'Église maintiendra sa responsabilité de proclamer la vérité, d’offrir la réconciliation et d'aimer au nom du Christ.











My Other Family: the Parish/Ma deuxième famille: la paroisse

Étant donné notre éloignement de mes cousins, la paroisse de Sainte Rita est devenue pour nous une famille de relève. Beaucoup de ses événements sociaux et religieux ont pris une place centrale dans nos vies. Je peux imaginer que la joie dont j’ai joui là s’exprime aussi de ces jours à Waupoos à vos soupers-partage dans la loge, après la messe du samedi après-midi.

Ayant grandi au Québec dans les années 1940 et 50, j'ai eu l’expérience vive de passer mon enfance et mon adolescence dans une culture façonnée par la foi catholique, où l'identité catholique était dans l'air qu'on respirait. Notre famille récitait de nombreuses soirées le chapelet alors que nos voisins francophones priaient le chapelet avec le cardinal Léger lors de son émission quotidienne à la radio.

***

At my parish, I had relished the role of being an altar server. I even acted as master of ceremonies from time to time. I followed the Latin text and, thanks to my high school courses, translated to myself as the priest sang the preface or recited the prayers. I run into people today who believe everything in the Church prior to the Second Vatican Council was bad, that the Church, especially in Quebec, was without exception dictatorial and clericalist.

Though I have no interest in recreating that era, it does not deserve such a bleak reputation. Perhaps because our Irish Catholic parish was a double minority—most francophones were Catholic and most anglophones were Protestant—we were close to our parish’s three priests. Although they were widely different in personality and approach, we found them all to be accessible and likeable.

Church Teaching on the Family/L’enseignement de l’Eglise sur la famille

In 1988, Pope John Paul II wrote a letter on the importance of the laity to the church and the world. Called Christifideles Laici [the Christian Lay Faithful], it contains a striking statement that speaks to the family—the theme of this year’s benefit dinner—as we honour three groups that in diverse ways support family life.

The late Holy Father said, “The lay faithful's duty to society primarily begins in marriage and in the family. This duty can only be fulfilled adequately with the conviction of the unique and irreplaceable value that the family has in the development of society and the Church herself” (#40).

The primary service that the laity gives society is through marriage and the family. In my studies I had often heard words repeated by the pope: "The family is the basic cell of society. It is the cradle of life and love..."

Marriage and family matter to society especially in these times "when human egoism, the anti-birth campaign, tyrannical politics, situations of poverty, material, cultural and moral misery, threaten to make these very springs of life dry up."

In another work, devoted principally to the Christian family in the modern world, known by its Latin title Familiaris Consortio, Blessed John Paul II wrote that spouses are "the permanent reminder to the Church of what happened on the Cross" (#13).

* * *

Il entendait par là que les époux doivent se donner dans l'amour les uns aux autres et à leurs enfants avec une tendresse qui imite l'amour sacrificiel du Christ pour toute l'humanité. Et à leur manière, chaque famille doit refléter le triomphe du Christ sur les forces négatives qui menacent les familles et, par conséquent, qui menacent la société tout entière.

La famille est le berceau de la vie et l'amour, le lieu dans lequel l'individu est né et grandit. Ainsi, une priorité de la communauté est que la famille peut compter sur la dignité, le respect des droits et d'un environnement propice à son épanouissement. Cette communauté comprend l'Église, les autorités civiles et les employeurs. C'est en sauvant la famille que la société va se sauver.

* * *

Pope John Paul II also developed a “theology of the body”. The Theology of the Body is a dramatic and startling way of looking at marriage and sex. Pope John Paul’s biographer called it “a theological time bomb” set to go off well into the 21st century…so watch out for some fireworks!

Indeed, Pope John Paul’s insights into marriage, sexuality and procreation are so radical as to be almost shocking. Certainly, those who believed that the Church opposed all that is sexual are astonished at this teaching.

Delivered in a series of 130 weekly talks over several years, the theology of the body calls the union of husband and wife in marriage “an icon of the interior life of God.” This means that every aspect of the marital union in some way reflects who God is. It means that married love is a reflection of the love that is the inner life of the Trinity.

John Paul also described marriage as “the human reality that best mirrors the relationship between Christ and the people he has redeemed. God’s purposes in creation and redemption are both revealed in marriage.”

* * *

Le mariage est même un signe de notre rédemption, puisque l'amour entre mari et femme se voit clairement dans le Nouveau Testament comme une image de l'amour du Christ pour son épouse, l'Église.

Toutefois, ces enseignements ont des implications énormes pour le mariage. Le Pape Jean-Paul appelle l'amour conjugal un acte d'adoration exprimé par le langage du corps. D'autre part, il dit que le don de soi dans le mariage est une manière de sanctifier le monde.

* * *









And needless to say, the theology of the body leaves no room for chemical or physical barriers that diminish the couple’s ability to offer a true and total gift of themselves to each other.

Couples committing to marrying and raising a family today are entering on a bold adventure and bowing out of our society’s “me-first” mindset. By accepting the teaching that the Church offers, they embrace wisdom beyond human speculation and make a commitment to a sacramental and sacred gift of themselves to each other.

Challenges to the Family/Les défis de la famille

Although there are sound policies and support services to nurture and sustain family life and marital bonds, there are also centrifugal forces moving spouses and their family life towards breakup, isolation, and loneliness. We have only to think of the widespread family breakdown, separation and divorces, as well as the extent of bullying—sometimes through social media—that hurt so many children and, directly or indirectly, their parents and siblings. We have only to think of the recent suicide of a young person in our city and other such incidents to remind ourselves of the challenges we face.

The centrifugal forces acting upon society are multiple. Our society is marked by individualism and separation that lead to terrible loneliness and isolation, and by an aggressive competition for more goods or perceived individual rights. These tendencies leave the weak and vulnerable on the margins.

* * *

L'Église doit se présenter comme un contresigne d’espérance et d’unité.

L'Église a été appelée un sacrement, en effet le sacrement de l'espoir et le salut au monde. Quand nous parlons de cette façon -- de l'Église étant un sacrement, nous parlons d'elle à la fois comme signe et instrument d'unité. Elle est la réconciliation pour tous.

***

If it is in the nature of the Church to be such a collective sign, it must be the same for individuals within the Church. I am thinking here of her pastors, religious men and women and especially the lay faithful.

This is no easy task. If we are not vigilant, the centrifugal forces operative not only in society but even among members of the church can predominate. Still, a united church community can help bring harmony to the world, and, notably, to marriage and family life.












Our Beneficiaries/Nos bénéficiaires

There are many groups with the church and society that come to the aid of families in transition or in crisis. Among them are the three beneficiaries chosen as the recipients of this evening’s benefit dinner. Tonight, we recognize the work of The Catholic Centre for Immigration of Ottawa, Catholic Family Service of Ottawa, and The Waupoos Foundation.

* * *

Le Centre catholique pour immigrants à Ottawa contribue à adoucir le bouleversement de quitter son pays natal pour un avenir meilleur au Canada. Le Centre assure que les nouveaux arrivants sont accueillis chaleureusement. Le Centre sensibilise la communauté à répondre aux besoins des nouveaux arrivants. Il aide également les nouveaux arrivants à réaliser leur plein potentiel dans la société canadienne. Les services qu'il offre comprennent l'hébergement temporaire et la recherche du logement, l'orientation, comment bien s’installer, l'interprétation, l'intégration linguistique et culturelle, le développement communautaire, l'éducation et la sensibilisation, ainsi que la recherche d'emplois.

Le Service familial catholique d’Ottawa prête secours aux familles aux prises avec le stress et les blessures de difficultés parentales ou de manque d'harmonie familiale. Ces failles dans la vie familiale peuvent être provoquées par plusieurs problèmes sociaux et économiques. La guérison de ces maux de la vie contemporaine est au cœur de ses objectifs. Leur effectif professionnel cherche à renforcer et à responsabiliser les individus et les familles au moyen d’une variété de programmes, de conseils et de ressources de soutien.

La Fondation Waupoos offre des vacances aux familles défavorisées. Mais c'est plus qu'une chance de flatter du petit bétail sur leur belle ferme! Waupoos offre un endroit sécuritaire pour jouer, une invitation à la prière quotidienne et un modèle d'une communauté catholique accueillante.

Une étude américaine [en 1997] a montré que les parents jouent un rôle primordial dans le développement dans leurs enfants d’une capacité de s’échapper des influences néfastes, voire destructrices. Les enfants étudiés avaient moins tendance à expérimenter avec l'alcool, les drogues ou l'activité sexuelle avant le mariage, si leurs parents étaient avec eux à des points clés dans la journée. Ces moments importants sont quand ils se réveillèrent, à la rentrée de l'école, au moment des repas et à l’heure de se coucher au lit.

Ainsi, les parents sont des agents sans pareils dans la maturation saine et la sanctification de leurs enfants. Beaucoup de parents sont stressés par de longues heures de travail pour gagner leur vie. Les mères célibataires assument un fardeau financier et émotionnel écrasant. L'Église et d'autres organismes, tel que notre Organisme catholique pour la vie et la famille, jouent des rôles clés dans le maintien de bons mariages et de bonnes familles par rapport à ces défis.

Conclusion/Envoi

Family life has undergone change throughout history. Our own time is no exception. Despite pressures of all kinds, families show wonderful resilience in adapting to new conditions. Christian families have always seen in the Holy Family of Nazareth a model of mutual respect, a household where rights and duties were balanced and harmoniously lived out. May Joseph and Mary intercede for us with their Son Jesus so that all families may be both healthy and holy.

Que Dieu le Père, par l’intercession de la Sainte Famille, bénisse nos familles. Amen.









 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Saints Simon & Jude, Apostles - Visit of Archbishop Chacour



SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES

o God, who by the blessed Apostles have brought us to acknowledge your Name, grant graciously, through the intercession of Saints Simon and Jude, that the Church may constantly grow by increase of the people who believe in you. Through our Lord.

* * * * * *

MELKITE BISHOP OF GALILEE

CNEWA Canada hosted Archbishop Elias Chacour of the Greco-Melkite diocese of Akka-St. John of Acre-Ptolemais on a visit to the National Capital Region.  During his trip, he stayed at my residence, though I was absent at the CCCB Plenary and the Deacons' Retreat last weekend.  We had breakfast together on Monday before he left for the Middle East; he shared with me his joys and sorrows, particularly the difficulty he has in sending seminarians from his diocese to study in Lebanon (he himself did six years of studies in Paris. 

Deborah Gyapong wrote an account of his message of peace which was published by Catholic News Service in the USA, though I have yet to see that the Canadian Catholic press has picked up on her story.

Archbishop Elias Chacour, Carl Hetu, National Director CNEWA

OTTAWA, Ontario (CNS) -- Years ago, Melkite Archbishop Elias Chacour flew to Washington, D.C., to make an unannounced visit to the home of then-Secretary of State James Baker.

The archbishop of Haifa, Israel, was having trouble getting a government-issued building permit to expand a school, a problem that had repeated itself many times over the years as he built schools and summer camps for impoverished Christian and Muslim villagers.

To his surprise, Baker's wife, Susan, answered the door because she was expecting a group of women for a Bible study, Archbishop Chacour told an Oct. 21 conference on The Future of Christianity in the Middle East.

She invited him into the kitchen for a glass of iced tea, explained her husband was not at home and added she was about to start a discussion of the Eight Beatitudes with the 20 ladies in her living room.

She ended up inviting the archbishop to lead the Bible study for her, the archbishop recalled. He spent the next two hours explaining the beatitudes to the women, noting they are about following Jesus to the cross, not "be-happy attitudes" as some described them. He said he also told the women to convince their husbands "to get their fingers dirty" in the work of building peace and justice in the Middle East.

That unannounced visit led to a friendship between the Bakers and the archbishop that not only got Archbishop Chacour the building permit he sought, but also eventually brought the Bakers to visit his archdiocese as "an act of solidarity."

"Are you ready when you visit the Holy Land to make that act of solidarity?" he asked the audience at St. Paul University's Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, which co-sponsored the conference with the Catholic Near East Welfare Association.

Archbishop Chacour said anyone expecting him to be for or against Palestinians or Jews "will be disappointed."

A renowned peace-builder, the archbishop described himself as a Palestinian, an Arab, a Christian and an Israeli citizen who is proud of each one of his identities.

But he said Christians all over the Holy Land are seeking to leave and find opportunities elsewhere. He urged visitors to get out of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher -- a prominent pilgrimage spot in Jerusalem -- and go to Galilee to understand Jesus as a man of the resurrection and to listen, console and provide companionship to Christians there.

He also stressed that the Christian communities originally grew in the region because of the love they showed, not the weapons they used.

"I am not here to beg for money," Archbishop Chacour said. "I'm here to beg you to give me your friendship and solidarity."

He urged people to stand with the Jews in friendship but not to be against the Palestinians.

"We have been labeled a nation of terrorists," he said. "We have been a nation terrorized for over 70 years."

If people sympathize with the suffering of Palestinians in refugee camps, or struggling under the occupation in Gaza or the West Bank, or as second-class citizens in Israel, they might decide "to be on our side," he said.

"If being on our side with the Palestinians, being for us, means being against the Jews, we do not need your friendship," he said. "You reduce yourselves to being one more enemy."

Archbishop Chacour said his parents taught him never to hate, even though, when he was 8, the Israeli military ordered his family to leave their home in their ancestral village. Expecting to be allowed to return, his family and other villagers lived for two weeks in the hills. Then the family heads went to speak with Israeli authorities about returning to their homes. Instead of inviting them back, the military herded them onto military trucks "like cattle" and dropped them off across the border at Nablus, West Bank, and told them not to return.

Though Archbishop Chacour's father managed to return after several months, most of the others never came home. Those who were compelled to leave Israel by what he called a form of ethnic cleansing became the "famous Palestinian refugees" who ended up in refugee camps or remained stateless in surrounding countries.

In 1953, his home village was razed and the land confiscated by the Israeli government, he said. But he does not use these experiences as a pretext for hatred or violence. Instead, he has devoted his life to reconciliation and building peace among Jews, Christians and Muslims.

"We Palestinians and Jews do not need to learn how to live together," he said. "We just need to remember how we used to live together for centuries and centuries."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Today: Pope Benedict a Pilgrim for Peace and Justice in Assisi - SAINTE CATHERINE DE SIENNE




On January 1st, Pope Benedict XVI called for an event to commemorate the first day of Prayer for Peace in October 1986, hosted by Blessed Pope John Paul II. The event which will see Benedict XVI sharing in a pilgrim journey with leaders of other religions, is due to take place today, October 27th, 2011.

Religious leaders will gather in Assisi, to mark the 25th anniversary of the first such meeting in 1986, and to pledge, again, a shared commitment to peace and justice.

Pope Benedict XVI has put this meeting under the motto of ‘pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace’, which recalls the search for truth and goodness that all human beings share.

As the Pope has asked all Catholics to support this event with their prayer, it would be appropriate to mark this day ourselves with a moment of silence, and a prayer, such as the following one:

‘God of Peace, as religious leaders gather in Assisi on their pilgrimage for peace, we ask you to make this meeting a blessed and fruitful one, and to grant all your children the will and the ability to live with each other in peace. We also pray for ourselves, that we may become messengers of this peace, in cooperation and solidarity with all our brothers and sisters in our own religion and others, of all beliefs and none. In a moment of silence, we pray for the gift of peace.’

All Catholics are encouraged to support this day and its intentions by adding their own prayer for peace.


A second gathering hosted by Pope John Paul II in Assisi in January 2002


* * * * * *





Pour marquer le 550e anniversaire de sa canonisation et le 40e anniversaire de sa nomination comme docteur de l’Église, un  congrès international sur Sainte Catherine de Sienne, Docteur de l'Église et co-patronne de l'Italie se tiendra à Rome et Sienne du 27 au 29 octobre et abordera la vie, l'oeuvre et l'influence de Catherine, et en particulier ses écrits, généralement dictés étant donné qu'elle était pratiquement analphabète.

Pourtant les écrits de Catherine contiennent des formules et des images vives et audacieuses dans la communication de la vérité qu'est le Christ.Catherine de Sienne s'adressait en effet, de son temps, aux grands de la terre et aux responsables de l'Église comme aux simples gens, en toute liberté, sans hésiter à fustiger les péchés de tous, laïcs, prêtres ou prélats, afin d'offrir à tous l'espérance en l'infinité miséricorde de Dieu.

Ce soir: Souper-bénéfice de l’Archevêque - God's Priests




Ce soir, mercredi 26 octobre à 19 h je serai l’hôte de mon souper bénéfice annuel au Centre de conférences du Hampton Inn à Ottawa, 200 chemin Coventry à Ottawa. Sept cent vingt (720) invités sont attendus pour cet événement qui se déroulera à guichet fermé.

Trois organismes de bienfaisance ont été choisis en tant que bénéficiaires :

La fondation Waupoos est une communauté christocentrique intégrant leur devise de « prière, travail et  jeu » à l’intérieur de ses activités, tout en offrant un lieu de vacances aux familles dans le besoin. La ferme Waupoos a été fondée en 1980 par le regretté Rév. Fred McGee, o.m.i., et par des membres du mouvement Cursillo.

Le Service familial catholique Ottawa est un organisme de bienfaisance offrant une gamme de services sociaux, en anglais et en français, aux gens de la région d'Ottawa. Ces services sont assurés par un personnel professionnel compétent dans le cadre de divers programmes visant à renforcer et appuyer les individus et les familles dans leur propre développement. Le Service familial catholique Ottawa a été fondé en 1940 et a été incorporé en 1968. Ils ont reçu en 1992 leur désignation en vertu de la Loi de 1986 sur les services en français.

Le Centre catholique pour immigrants Ottawa fait la promotion et facilite l’accueil des nouveaux arrivants au Canada. Le Centre sensibilise la communauté et l’invite à répondre aux besoins des nouveaux arrivants; il aide les nouveaux arrivants à réaliser leur plein potentiel dans la société canadienne. Les services offerts incluent l’hébergement temporaire et l’aide au logement, l’orientation, l’établissement et l’intégration, l’interprétation linguistique et culturelle, le développement, la formation et la recherche de liens communautaires, ainsi que l’aide à la recherche d’emploi.

* * * * * *

       Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year “A”) – October 30, 2011
THE KIND OF PRIESTS GOD WANTS
[Malachi 1.14-2.2, 8-10 [Psalm 131]; 1 Thessalonians 2.7-9, 13; Matthew 23.1-12]




Some years ago, a book by William R. Millar—Priesthood in Ancient Israel (St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2001)—caught my attention.  The author traces through the Old Testament two conceptions of priesthood.  One he designates the Zadok-Aaron approach and the other the Abiathar-Moses line of thought.  Since Aaron and Moses were brothers, both trajectories go back to a single family and are variations of each other.

The latter, Zadok-Aaron interpretation of what a priest is derives from the establishment of the Jerusalem temple. Accordingly, it exalts Zion where God is conceived as consuming his sacrifice in the ordered space of the temple (cf. 2 Chronicles 7.1-3).  In this view, believers are called to withdraw into the holy.  The sacred is that which purifies, embraces perfection and reaches toward higher discipline.  God is said to establish boundaries, and the sacred story of the community of faith moves from vulnerability to stability (Millar, p. 30).

Millar contrasts this with an earlier, Abiathar-Moses cluster of traditions that exalted the wilderness and God's meeting with his elect at the holy mountain Horeb (=Mount Sinai).  There, God spoke his word from a blazing height (cf. Deuteronomy 5).  Believers are drawn into relationships, and the sacred is that which heals.  The holy embraces imperfection, and reaches toward wholeness as the sacred story moves from slavery to freedom (Millar, p. 30).

Millar says the Zadok tradition, which originated with Aaron, was espoused in the time of Jesus by the Sadducean high priests (Sadducee is a Greek version of Zadok).  Meanwhile, the Moses-Abiathar tradition was taken up by the prophet Elijah and, later, by Jesus.

The last writings in the Jewish canon of Scripture are the Books of Chronicles, offering hope to Jews about to embark on the challenges of the second temple period.  When the Christian community established its canon of the Scriptures, however, it reordered the sacred books so that the Old Testament would conclude with the prophet Malachi, from which today's first reading is drawn.

The Church did so because it wished to make its own Malachi's criticism of powerful priests who were not meeting God's standards.  God, according to his messenger—Malachi means “my messenger”—was about to purge corruption from amidst the ministers of his people:

      “The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming says the Lord of hosts.  But who can endure the day of his coming...?  For he is like a refiner's fire and like fuller's soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the [priestly] descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness' (3.2-3).

Malachi was zealous to correct abuses in Israel's faith life: overly-political priests, abuses in worship (people were offering defective animals in sacrifice), permitting intermarriage with foreigners that led to a loss of faith among Israelites, and the spread of social injustices.

Malachi appealed to the common fatherhood of God shared by Israelites as a reason to shun marriage with foreigners.  He conceived marriage as a covenantal bond instead of a contract that could end in divorce.  Malachi anticipated the exalted vision of the spousal union and abhorrence of divorce that characterized Jesus' teaching on marriage.

In the closing words of his public ministry, Jesus took up Malachi's vision.  He allowed that the scribes and Pharisees, because they had been constituted religious leaders, were to be followed in what they said.  But not in what they did!

Jesus attacked their religiosity which he considered bankrupt, giving humility and the ideal of service as antidotes to a too exalted impression of one's priestly self: “the greatest among you will be your servant”. 

Paul models the ideal of priestly service by his gentle manner towards the Thessalonian converts (“we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children”).  Paul saw his vocation to be not only one of sharing the good news, but—to the extent possible—his very life and self.

Eschewing externals (titles and honour and acclaim) and cultivating an interior outlook of lowliness, humility, and service helps disciples become like their Master, Jesus Christ, God's unique and true high priest.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

English Sector Deacons' Retreat



From Friday evening until Sunday noon, I was at Notre-Dame-de-la-Providence retreat centre in Orleans for the bi-annual retreat for all the English Sector diaconal family (in alternate years the deacons and their wives make their own arrangements for retreat individually or in groups).

Our topic was Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, a theme close to my heart (my dissertation topic) as a way of reflecting on the baptismal call to be with Jesus and to be sent out (cf.  Mark 3.14) and its new dimension in the call to serve the poor and disadvantaged as deacons.

The Sisters of Charity of Ottawa gave us a warm welcome and joined us for the Lord's Day Eucharistic Liturgy (I had a short visit with them earlier on Sunday morning). 

After Mass, we went out to the entrance for group photos of the deacons and another with the deacons and their wives. What a gift these men and women are to the life of our Church of Ottawa!

A box of my new book on the Mark's Gospel in the Year B liturgies (Living the Gospel: Reflections on the Sunday Readings for Year B [Toronto/Montreal: Novalis, 2011] was available for those who wished to purchase them, so there were some book signings too.

Some photos from the weekend (all courtesy of Deacon Gary and Lise Bourgeois):















Monday, October 24, 2011

Today's Optional Memorial: Saint Anthony Mary Claret



Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop


Today's saint seems not to have wasted any time.  He is credited with 144 books, 25,000 sermons, 300,000 confirmations and blessing 9,000 marriages!


O God, who for the evangelization of peoples strengthened the Bishop Saint Anthony Mary Claret with admirable charity and long-suffering, grant, through his intercession, that, seeking the things that are yours, we may earnestly devote ourselves to winning our brothers and sisters for Christ. Who lives and reigns with you.