Monday, April 30, 2012

Ibiza - Café del Mar

Click picture above or HERE to download file in English.

Dear friends,

This time I ask only one thing: that you when reading that there is nothing to do besides what I suggest, just believe.

"Packed" with my affection,


Mémoire facultative : Marie de l'Incarnation - Optional Memorial

Une enfant émerveillée

Marie Guyart est née à Tours en 1599. Elle a une enfance heureuse dans une famille de petits commerçants. Si elle aime les processions et les prédicateurs, c’est pour leur côté théâtral. Elle est reconnue pour ses élans de charité : elle prend du pain à la boulangerie de son père pour le distribuer aux pauvres.

Une jeune veuve

À 17 ans, son père la marie à Claude Martin, un jeune homme de 18 ans qui tient un commerce de soieries. Marie Guyart a un enfant trois ans plus tard. Mais Claude Martin meurt d’une grippe. Le commerce fait faillite.

Le point tournant

En mars 1620, elle a sa première vision mystique. Pendant qu’elle marche dans la rue, elle a une absence. Elle voit du sang partout, celui de la Rédemption. Cette vision est d’une telle intensité qu’elle en restera marquée pour le reste de ses jours.

Du talent pour les affaires

Elle refuse de se remarier et s’installe chez sa sœur, mariée à Paul Buisson, propriétaire d’une entreprise de transport. Elle est d’abord domestique, cuisinière, puis prend de plus en plus de place dans l’administration de l’entreprise. Elle a le génie du financement et de la gestion du personnel. Elle élève son fils, mais ne lui manifeste pas d’affection.

L’appel du large

En janvier 1631, Marie Guyart entre au couvent des Ursulines, abandonnant ainsi son fils à une congrégation de religieux. En 1634, elle lit les Relations des Jésuites et rêve d’aller au Canada. Elle s’embarque en 1639, avec trois ursulines, un voyage financé par Madeleine de la Peltrie.

Un poste de traite

À l’arrivée de Marie de l’Incarnation, Québec est une bourgade de quelque 300 habitants mal logés, mal nourris et déprimés. Les sœurs s’installent dans une petite cabane. Très vite, les colons et les Amérindiens amènent leurs filles pour qu’elles reçoivent une éducation.

Une témoin de son temps

Après quelques années, le premier couvent en pierres est érigé sur le site du couvent actuel. Marie de l’Incarnation ne sort jamais de son cloître, mais elle sait tout ce qui se passe dans la jeune colonie. Elle est seule à saisir que la conversion des Indiens est une illusion. Elle pose un regard réaliste dénué de préjugés.

La force intérieure

Marie de l’Incarnation entretient son réseau grâce aux multiples lettres qu’elle écrit. Elle obtient ainsi du financement pour maintenir les activités de la congrégation. Elle n’est jamais émue, du moins en apparence. Elle mène une vie active : elle enseigne, elle cuisine, elle gère et elle conseille. Elle trouve l’énergie et la sérénité dans ses contemplations. Un personnage beaucoup plus riche qu’on ne l’a imaginé. []

* * *

Seigneur Dieu, tu as conduit la bienheureuse Marie de l'Incarnation jusqu'a la contemplation du mystère de la Trinite, et tu as fait d’elle un apôtre au cœur de feu. Accorde-nous, par son intercession et suivant son exemple, de vivre en témoins de ton amour, pour que soient toujours plus nombreux ceux qui parviennent à te connaître, t’aimer et te servir. Par Jésus Christ.

* * * * * *

Marie de l'Incarnation, whose real name was Marie Guyard, was born in Tours in 1599.

She was the first Mother Superior of the Ursuline convent of New France.

A widow at the age of 32 with a 13 year old son, she decided to take the veil. She entrusted her son Claude to her sister, and took the name of Marie de l'Incarnation.

"One morning in 1631, my son was resigned to come with me. Walking with me, he made no mention of his affliction, but I could see the tears in his eyes. I felt as my soul being torn out of me, that I was being rent in two. But I allowed no emotion as God was dearer to me than all of that. And, leaving him to her hands, I laughed as I bade him farewell."

For eight years, she heard God's call in her dreams:

"There were great spaces, and in these spaces, a church enveloped in mists.

From the place in which we were there, there was a road to go down; it was exceedingly dangerous because of having terrible rocks on one side and awful and unguarded precipices on the other. The afflicted place I had seen was New France. I felt a very great inward attraction in that direction and an order to go there to build a house for Jesus and Mary. I was in consequence so keenly possessed that I gave my consent to Our Lord, and promised to obey him".

Responding to this call from God, she embarked for New France in 1639 with theplan to convert young Indians, leaving her son behind. She left with other Sisters of the Ursuline and Hospitaliere orders. A wealthy patroness also accompanied them, whose name was Madame Chauvigny de la Peltrie.

The crossing took three months.

Marie de l'Incarnation wrote: "I barely slept during the entire crossing. The pangs of my aching head were so severe that, short of dying, they could not have been worse. All aboard were ill due to the constant tempests. May God be blessed for the mercies He bestowed upon me during that time!"

On August 1, 1639, they arrived in Quebec. They were the first women missionaries in North America.

For several years, she corresponded with her son. She died in Quebec in 1672, without ever returning to her homeland. Her lengthy correspondence was a mixture of mystical writings and very enlightening accounts on life during the early days of the St. Lawrence colony. [Canada: A People's History/]

Friday, April 27, 2012

St. Gianna Beretta Molla Entered Eternal Life 50 Years Ago Today

St. Gianna Molla
A newly written icon of St. Gianna Beretta Molla,
her husband Pietro and their child (Mother, Doctor, Lover of Life)
Courtesy of Salt and Light TV

Our Saint died 50 years ago today on April28, 1962; he life and that of other medical practicioners is a great encouragement to those gathered at the Canadian Catholic Physicians Conference in Vancouver.
Father John Horgan gave a wonderful overview of a large number of men and women in the healing professions who achieved holiness of life. 
Here is a biography of our Saint of the Day (observed in Italy; other churches may observe the optional memorial of the martyr Saint Peter Chanel or the great articulator of Marian devotion, St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort):

* * *

Gianna Beretta was born in Magenta (Milan) October 4, 1922. Already as a youth she willingly accepted the gift of faith and the clearly Christian education that she received from her excellent parents. As a result, she experienced life as a marvellous gift from God, had a strong faith in Providenceand was convinced of the necessity and effectiveness of prayer.

She diligently dedicated herself to studies during the years of her secondary and university education, while, at the same time, applying her faith through generous apostolic service among the youth of Catholic Action and charitable work among the elderly and needy as a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. After earning degrees in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Pavia in 1949, she opened a medical clinic in Mesero (near Magenta) in 1950. She specialized in Pediatrics at the University of Milan in 1952 and thereafter gave special attention to mothers, babies, the elderly and poor.

While working in the field of medicine-which she considered a “mission” and practiced as such-she increased her generous service to Catholic Action, especially among the “very young” and, at the same time, expressed her joie de vivre and love of creation through skiing and mountaineering. Through her prayers and those of others, she reflected upon her vocation, which she also considered a gift from God. Having chosen the vocation of marriage, she embraced it with complete enthusiasm and wholly dedicated herself “to forming a truly Christian family”.

She became engaged to Pietro Molla and was radiant with joy and happiness during the time of their engagement, for which she thanked and praised the Lord. They were married on September 24, 1955, in the Basilica of St. Martin in Magenta, and she became a happy wife. In November 1956, to her great joy, she became the mother of Pierluigi, in December 1957 of Mariolina; in July 1959 of Laura. With simplicity and equilibrium she harmonized the demands of mother, wife, doctor and her passion for life.

In September 1961 towards the end of the second month of pregnancy, she was touched by suffering and the mystery of pain; she had developed a fibroma in her uterus. Before the required surgical operation, and conscious of the risk that her continued pregnancy brought, she pleaded with the surgeon to save the life of the child she was carrying, and entrusted herself to prayer and Providence. The life was saved, for which she thanked the Lord. She spent the seven months remaining until the birth of the child in incomparable strength of spirit and unrelenting dedication to her tasks as mother and doctor. She worried that the baby in her womb might be born in pain, and she asked God to prevent that.

A few days before the child was due, although trusting as always in Providence, she was ready to give her life in order to save that of her child: “If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child - I insist on it. Save him”. On the morning of April 21, 1962, Gianna Emanuela was born. Despite all efforts and treatments to save both of them, on the morning of April 28, amid unspeakable pain and after repeated exclamations of “Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you", the mother died. She was 39 years old. Her funeral was an occasion of profound grief, faith and prayer. The Servant of God lies in the cemetery of Mesero(4 km from Magenta).

“Conscious immolation", was the phrase used by Pope Paul VI to define the act of Blessed Gianna, remembering her at the Sunday Angelus of September 23, 1973, as: “A young mother from the diocese of Milan, who, to give life to her daughter, sacrificed her own, with conscious immolation”. The Holy Father in these words clearly refers to Christ on Calvary and in the Eucharist.

Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, during the international Year of the Family. She was canonized on May 16, 2004, by Pope John Paul II. [— Vatican Website]

Participatio Actuosa

Recently, I had the privilege of hearing Fr. Gregory Pendergraft, FSSP say Mass. It truly is a blessing to hear Mass by a priest who is not influenced by the Novus Ordo. While I don't begrudge priests who are influenced by the Novus Ordo (it is simply a different expression of the same rite, no? Ok, I digress), there is something more natural about a priest who is only trained in the TLM, celebrating the TLM.

As it is, the good Father preached about Participatio Actuosa and Participatio activa, I thought it would be a good time to share an article written in 1987 on the very same subject. It was written by my mentor, the late Richard J. Schuler, pastor of St. Agnes, in St. Paul, MN. What is written in this article is very similar to what was preached about at Holy Mass by Fr. Pedergraft, FSSP.

God Bless Fr. Pendergraft and may his priesthood persevere. The article by Monsignor Schuler is below:

With the constitution on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, issued in 1965 bythe Second Vatican Council, everyone became very conscious of personal participation in the sacred liturgy,particularly in the Mass.
But active participation in in the liturgy was not a concept created by the Second Vatican Council.Indeed, even the very words actuosa participatio can be found in the writings of the popes forthe past one hundred years. Pope Pius X called for it in his motu proprio, Tra le sollecitudini,published in 1903, when he said that "the faithful assemble to draw that spirit from its primaryand indispensable source, that is, from active participation in the sacred mysteries and in the public andsolemn prayer of the Church."
Pope Pius XI in his apostolic constitution, Divini cultus, wrote in 1928, that the restoration ofGregorian chant for the use of the people would provide the means whereby "the faithful may participate in divine worship more actively." Such participation was to be achieved both by singing and by anappreciation of the beauty of the liturgy which stirs the heart of the worshiper, who thereby enters into thesacred mysteries.
In his encyclicals, Mystici corporus in 1943, and Mediator Dei in 1947, Pope Pius XIIused the term but carefully insisted that true participation was not merely external but consisted in abaptismal union with Christ in His Mystical Body, the Church.
In 1958, the Sacred Congregation of Rites issued the instruction, De musica sacra, which distinguishedseveral qualities of participation:
The Mass of its nature requires that all those present participate in it, in the fashionproper to each.
This participation must primarily be interior (i.e., union with Christ the Priest; offering with andthrough Him).
b) But the participation of those present becomes fuller (plenior) if to internal attention isjoined external participation, expressed, that is to say, by external actions such as the position ofthe body (genuflecting, standing, sitting), ceremonial gestures, or, in particular, the responses, prayers andsinging . . .
It is this harmonious form of participation that is referred to in pontifical documents when they speakof active participation (participatio actuosa), the principal example of which is found in thecelebrating priest and his ministers who, with due interior devotion and exact observance of the rubrics andceremonies, minister at the altar.
c) Perfect participatio actuosa of the faithful, finally, is obtained when there is added sacramentalparticipation (by communion).
d) Deliberate participatio actuosa of the faithful is not possible without their adequate instruction.
It is made clear that it is baptismal character that forms the foundation of active participation.

Vatican II introduced no radical alteration in the concept of participatio actuosa as fostered by the popes for the past decades. The general principle is contained in Article 14 of the constitution on the sacred liturgy:
Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious and active participation in the ceremonies which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy.
Such participation by the Christian people as a "chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people" (I Pet. 2:9; 2:4-5) is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.
In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful areto derive the true spirit of Christ . . .
The word "full" (plena) refers to the integrally human fashion in which the baptized faithful take part in the liturgy, i.e., internally and externally. The word "conscious" (conscia) demands a knowledge of what one is doing on the part of the faithful, excluding any superstition or false piety. But the word "active"(actuosa) requires some greater examination.
A true grasp of the meaning of participation in the liturgy demands a clear understanding of the nature of the Church and above all of Christ Himself. At the basis of so much of today's problems in liturgy lies a false notion of Christology and ecclesiology. Christ, the incarnate Word of God, true God and true Man, lives on in this world now. "I will be with you all days until the end of the world." Even though He has arisen and ascended into heaven, He lives with us.The Church is His mystical Body, indeed His mystical Person. We are the members of that Body. Its activity, the activity of the Church, is the activity of Christ, its Head. The hierarchical priesthood functions in the very person of Christ,doing His work of teaching, ruling and sanctifying. Thus the Mass and the sacraments are Christ's actions bringing to all the members of His Body, the Church, the very life that is in its Head. Participation in that life demands that every member of the Body take part in that action, which is primarily the liturgical activity of the Church. The liturgy is the primary source of that divine life, and thus all must be joined to it in an active way. Baptism is the key that opens the door and permits one to become part of the living Body of Christ. The baptized Christian has not only a right to participation in the Church's life but a duty as well. It is only the baptized person who can participate.
The difference between participation in the liturgy that can be called activa and participation that can be labelled actuosa rests in the presence in the soul of the baptismal character, the seal that grants one the right to participate.Without the baptismal mark, all the actions of singing, walking, kneeling or anything else can be termed "active,"but they do not constitute participatio actuosa. Only the baptismal character can make any actions truly participatory.Let us use an example. Let us say that a pious Hindu attends Mass, takes part in the singing and even walks in a procession with great piety. In the same church is also a Catholic who is blind and deaf and who is unable to leave his chair; he can neither sing nor hear the readings nor walk in the procession. Which one has truly participated, the one who is very active, or the one who has confined himself solely to his thoughts of adoration? Obviously, it is the baptized Catholic who has exercised participatio actuosa despite his lack of external, physical movement. The Hindu even with his many actions has not been capable of it,since he lacks the baptismal character.
Granting then the absolute necessity of baptism, it still is imperative for the Christian to take part in the liturgy actively by a variety of actions. This means that the internal actuosa participatio, which the baptismal mark empowers, must be aided by those external actions that he is capable of. He should do those things that the Church sets out for him according to his role in the liturgy and the various conditions that age, social position and cultural background dictate. He must join participatio activa to his participatio actuosa which he exercises as a baptismal person.
What are those actions that make for true active participation in the liturgy? These must be both internal and external in quality, since man is a rational creature with body and soul. The external actions must be intelligent and understood, sincere and pious internally. The Church proposes many bodily positions: kneeling, standing, walking, sitting, etc. It likewise proposes many human actions: singing, speaking, listening and above all else, the reception of the Holy Eucharist. They demand internal attention as well as external execution.
One of the most active and demanding of human actions is that of listening. It requires strict attention and summons up in a person his total concentrative effort. It is possible, for example, to walk without really knowing that one is walking or advert to where one is going. It is possible even to sing, especially a very familiar tune, and not be conscious of actually singing. But one cannot truly listen without attention. Especially in our day of constant radio and TV broadcasting, we are able to tune out almost every sound we wish. To listen attentively demands full human concentration. Listening can be the most active form of participation,demanding effort and attention. Truly, as the scriptures tell us, faith demands hearing, fides ex auditu.
With that in mind, surely the baptized Christian who listens with care to the proclamation of the gospel or the singing of the preface at Mass truly has achieved participation, both activa and actuosa.

The Church does not have the entire congregation proclaim the gospel text, but rather the deacon or the priest does it. It is the duty of all to listen. The cannon of the Mass is not to be recited by everyone but all are to hear it. Listening is a most important form of active participation.
There is a variety of roles to be observed in the public celebration of the liturgy. There is the role of the priest, deacon, reader, cantor, choir and congregation, among many others. Because each office has its own purpose and its own manner of acting we have the basic reason for a distinction of roles. If the reader or the cantor is to read and sing, certainly the role of the others is to listen.If the choir is to sing, someone must listen and in so-doing participate actively in the liturgy, even if during the period of listening he is relatively inactive in a physical way.
Every age has participated in the liturgy through baptism, as members of the Church and part of the mystical body of Christ. All ages have shared in the right and duty of actuosa participatio. If, as Pius X insists, the liturgy is the primary source of the Christian life, everyone must take part in it to achieve salvation. Active participation is not an invention of our day; the Church throughout the ages constantly shared the life of Christ with its members in the Mass and the sacraments, the very actions of Christ Himself working through His Church and His priesthood. For each age the activities deemed by it to be useful in promoting that participation have varied according to the needs and ideas of the period. One cannot say that because the medieval period developed a chant that was largely the possession of monastic choirs, the congregations who listened were not actively participating. Perhaps not according to post-Vatican II standards, but one must carefully avoid the error of judging the past by the present and applying to former times criteria that seem valuable in our own times. Because Palestrina's polyphonic Masses require the singing of trained choirs, can one assume that non-choirmembers in the renaissance period were deprived of an active participation in the liturgy? No age could permit such a thing to happen and thus be deprived of the primary source of the spiritual life. The sixteenth-century baptized Roman did participate through listening along with other activities, as no doubt an eighteenth-century Austrian did when he heard a Mozart Mass performed by a choir and orchestra.
We must then carefully consider the roles of each individual, and we must consider the cultural and personal conditions of each one who must find in the liturgy the primary source of his spiritual life. A variety of opportunities for liturgical activity is needed, and good pastoral direction will supply the need. The Church herself does so by the very rubrics of the liturgical books, directing what is to be done.The Vatican Council taught the need of various functions and various roles to carry out completely the liturgical actions.
Surely the spoken and sung responses and acclamations in the liturgy are the right and the duty of all present. But the practice of calling the Sanctus an acclamation is without foundation; it is a hymn, found in the Old Testament and sung by the angels. It is not the exclusive prerogative of the congregation as it might be thought to be if it is labelled an acclamation. As a hymn it can be given to a trained group and sung in a more elaborate setting. The same is true of the parts called the ordinary of the Mass, including the Credo, which may be listened to and consented to with great faith without having to be spoken by the congregation. The proper parts of the Mass, because of the great variety of texts and settings, fall of necessity to trained and practiced groups. One may, of course, never exclude the congregation totally from participation by singing, but the variety of methods allows for many possibilities for participation by singing or by listening to singing.The possibilities of participation are almost infinite.
Important too for any participation in the liturgy is the elevation of the spirit of the worshipper. Ultimately, liturgy is prayer,the supreme prayer of adoration, thanksgiving, petition and reparation. Prayer is the raising of the heart and the mind to God as Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier. The means to achieve such elevation of the spirit in prayer involve all the activities of the human person, both spirit and body. Such means produce true actuosa participatio. Thus beauty, whether it appeals to the sight, the ear, the imagination or any of the senses, is an important element in achieving participation. The architectural splendor of a great church or the sound of great music, or the solemnity of ceremonial movement by ministers clothed in precious vestments, or the beauty of the proclaimed word - all can effect a true and salutary participation in one who himself has not sung a note or taken a step. But he is not a mere spectator as some would say; he is actively participating because of his baptismal character and the grace stirred up in him by what he is seeing and hearing, thinking and praying.
The Church has always promoted Gregorian chant. Especially during this past century, the popes have fostered the music of the renaissance polyphonists.Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass in St. Peter's Basilica with the Vienna orchestra and singers doing Mozart's Coronation Mass. Anyone who was present on that memorable occasion in that great church experienced true participation.
Thus to limit participation to singing impoverishes seriously the opportunity of the Christian to take part in the most essential means for his salvation. One does not have to sing to save his soul. But one must be active (actuosa participatio) in the liturgy, through baptism and other actions according to his ability, state, culture and disposition, in order to enter into the mystery of the redemption wrought by Christ,outside of which there is no salvation.

We can conclude with this definition of participatio actuosa:
(It is) that form of devout involvement in the liturgical action which, in the present conditions of the Church, best promotes the exercise of the common priesthood of the baptized: that is, their power to offer the sacrifice of the Mass with Christ and to receive the sacraments. It is clear that,concretely, this requires that the faithful understand the liturgical ceremonial; that they take part in it by bodily movements, standing, kneeling or sitting as the occasion may demand; that they join vocally in the parts which are intended for them. It also requires that they listen to, and understand,the liturgy of the word. It requires, too, that there be moments of silence when the import of the whole ceremonial may be absorbed and deeply personalized.(Colman E. O'Neill, "The Theological Meaning of Actuosa Participatio in the Liturgy," in Sacred Music and Liturgy Reform after Vatican II. Consociatio Internationalis Musicae Sacrae, Rome, 1969. p. 105.)
Rev. Richard J. Schuler
(I was given permission to use this article, by the good Monsignor in 1994).

The idea of participation is one which really isn't that hard to comprehend. Who made it difficult were the reformers after Vatican Council II. If one simply approaches Holy Mass as a way to worship and not to do something, then perhaps we will come to a better understanding of what it REALLY means to participate. It is my contention that we, as Catholics, should simply approach the altar as we were authentically called, as worshipers. The point of assisting at Holy Mass is not to "do something." It is to worship God the Father, through the unbloody Sacrifice of the Son, under the supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit. Don't get me wrong, there are times when being an extraordinary minister is necessary, but it is a rarity. There are only three instances, in my opinion, when being an extraordinary minister is necessary. First, as a straw subdeacon. Any pious layman can function as a subdeacon if the Mass is to be solemn. Second, as a Master of Ceremonies. Any pious layman can fulfill the function of a MC. Thirdly, as an altar server. I do refer to it as an altar server, because any pious layman can serve Holy Mass. It isn't just for boys. To understand that those extraordinary functions are not to fulfill a "way of participating," but to fulfill a genuine need. And that has been lost. We need to relearn that the point of Holy Mass is not to find a way to participate externally (participatio activa), but rather to just participate (participatio actuosa).

As we approach our place to sit, the next time we go to Mass, think not about what we can do, but rather think about how to apply what we already do. If we take our prayers and intentions, our wants and needs; if we take our very souls and lay them on the altar (spiritually); if we ask the priest celebrant to offer them on our behalf and we meditate on them, then we participate in the greatest way and the way that Christ intended when he instituted it on Holy Thursday and offered the Sacrifice Good Friday.

I will leave you with one thought for today.....when we look at how the Mass is celebrated today, perhaps Christ is saying from the Cross, "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do." (St. Luke 23:34)

Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians Guild Convention

Vancouver is a spectacular city; Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, my host since arriving, has been showing me the sights.

Tonight the Canadian Catholic Physicians' Convention begins.  Here is the time-table and the topics that will be ours.

Friday, April 27

4– 5 pm Welcome Federation Business Meeting; 5 – 7:30 pm Dinner

7:30 pm Fr. John Horgan: Physician Saints

8:30 pm Best of BC Wine Tasting and Reception

Saturday, April 28

7:00 am Breakfast

9:00 am Mass at Holy Rosary Cathedral
Concelebrated by Archbishop J. Michael Miller & Archbishop Terrence Prendergast

10:00 am Break & Refreshments

10:45 am Archbishop J. Michael Miller, Courage and the Physician

12:00 pm Dr. William V. Williams: Research Ethics

1:00 pm Lunch

2:30 pm First Breakout Session Dr. Thomas Bouchard Monitoring Ovulation (en francais) or Dr. Francois Primeau Teaching Ethics (in English)

3:30 pm Break

4:00 pm Second Breakout Session: Dr. Francois Primeau Teaching Ethics (en francais) or Dr. Les Ruppersberger Potion or Poison - Medical Alternatives to the Pill

7:00 pm Closing Banquet:
Keynote Speaker Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.; Ph.D., The Scientific Mind: Proofs of the Existence of God

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Our Lady of Good Counsel, Patron of the Catholic Women's League

Our Lady of Good Counsel

Today's feast is closely associated with the devotion of the women of Canada's CWL to Our Lady under this title.  Happy Feast Days to this wonderful group of women whom I have come to know in Toronto, Halifax, Ottawa, in the Provinces of Nova Scotia and Ontario as well as on the national level.  Happy Feast Day!

Collect Prayer for Today

O Lord, who know that our earthly thoughts are fearful and uncertain, grant us, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, from whom your Son took flesh, a spirit of counsel, and by teaching us to discern your will, guide us, we pray in all we do. Through our Lord.

* * * * * *

These next few days I will be on Canada's west coast, taking part as liaison bishop in the fourth annual assembly of the The Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians' Societies. The theme of the convention is Moral Courage in the Practice of Medicine.  For more details about the federation and the meeting, cf.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

St. Mark the Evangelist - Easter 4B: Good Shepherd Sunday

John Mark, later known simply as Mark, was a Jew by birth. He was the son of that Mary who was proprietress of the Cenacle or "upper room" which served as the meeting place for the first Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12). He was still a youth at the time of the Savior's death. In his description of the young man who was present when Jesus was seized and who fled from the rabble leaving behind his "linen cloth," the second Evangelist might possibly have stamped the mark of his own identity.

During the years that followed, the rapidly maturing youth witnessed the growth of the infant Church in his mother's Upper Room and became acquainted with its traditions. This knowledge he put to excellent use when compiling his Gospel. Later, we find Mark acting as a companion to his cousin Barnabas and Saul on their return journey to Antioch and on their first missionary journey. But Mark was too immature for the hardships of this type of work and therefore left them at Perge in Pamphylia to return home.

As the two apostles were preparing for their second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take his cousin with him. Paul, however, objected. Thereupon the two cousins undertook a missionary journey to Cyprus. Time healed the strained relations between Paul and Mark, and during the former's first Roman captivity (61-63), Mark rendered Paul valuable service (Col. 4:10; Philem. 24), and the Apostle learned to appreciate him. When in chains the second time Paul requested Mark's presence (2 Tim. 4:11).

An intimate friendship existed between Mark and Peter; he played the role of Peter's companion, disciple, and interpreter. According to the common patristic opinion, Mark was present at Peter's preaching in Rome and wrote his Gospel under the influence of the prince of the apostles. This explains why incidents which involve Peter are described with telling detail (e.g., the great day at Capharnaum, 1:14f)). Little is known of Mark's later life. It is certain that he died a martyr's death as bishop of Alexandria in Egypt. His relics were transferred from Alexandria to Venice, where a worthy tomb was erected in St. Mark's Cathedral.

The Gospel of St. Mark, the shortest of the four, is, above all, a Roman Gospel. It originated in Rome and is addressed to Roman, or shall we say, to Western Christianity. Another high merit is its chronological presentation of the life of Christ. For we should be deeply interested in the historical sequence of the events in our blessed Savior's life.

Furthermore, Mark was a skilled painter of word pictures. With one stroke he frequently enhances a familiar scene, shedding upon it new light. His Gospel is the "Gospel of Peter," for he wrote it under the direction and with the aid of the prince of the apostles. "The Evangelist Mark is represented as a lion because he begins his Gospel in the wilderness, `The voice of one crying in the desert: Make ready the way of the Lord,' or because he presents the Lord as the unconquered King."  [Excerpted from Pius Parsch, The Church's Year of Grace]

* * * * * *

O God, who raised up Saint Mark, your Evangelist, and endowed him with the grace to preach the Gospel, grant, we pray, that we may so profit from his teaching as to follow faithfully in the footsteps of Christ. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
* * * * * *

Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year “B”) 

[Texts: Acts 4.7-12 [Psalm 118]; 1 John 3.1-2; John 10.11-18]

This Sunday is the Church's annual day to highlight the importance of prayer for vocations to the priesthood. As Catholics ponder Scriptures which tell of the rich sacramental life begun by Jesus, they offer prayers that God will abundantly bless them with priests to further His shepherding ministry in today's parishes.

The fourth Sunday of Easter – Good Shepherd Sunday – regularly features prayer for priestly vocations. The long address in which Jesus described Himself as the “beautiful shepherd” (John 10.1-21) includes a prior assertion “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep” (10.7).

Whoever would seek access to God's people as shepherd, then, needs authority from Jesus to do so. Priest-shepherds are called to make their own the selfless dispositions of Jesus, not those of “the hired hand” who runs away in time of danger “because a hired hand does not care for the sheep”.

Jesus' speech mentions shepherds, sheep, gatekeepers, hired hands, thieves and bandits, offering a glimpse into rural Palestinian life. The evangelist notes that, in his teaching, Jesus used a “figure of speech” (10.6). This is not the same as a parable – such as the “labourers in the vineyard” (Matthew 20.1-16) or the “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10.30-37) -- imaginative stories that expand on a metaphor and end with a surprising twist, prompting listeners to reflect on their lives.

Instead, the “figure of speech” is story of normal, everyday life. As Jesus pointed out on various occasions, it is sick people who normally go to the doctor (Mark 2.17) and people do not generally fast at wedding celebrations (Mark 2.18-20) as they would after a death in the family.

So, in the normal course of events, a real shepherd enters the sheepfold in the ordinary way (not coming over the fence) and the gatekeeper recognizes him. Even the sheep know his voice. If a stranger were to try and lead them, the sheep would flee, fearful of the unfamiliar voice (John 10.1-5).

Jesus' contrast of himself with other religious leaders takes up a theme that goes back to Ezekiel. Through the prophet God denounced Israel's pseudo-shepherds and pledged to assume the role of Israel's Shepherd (34.1-31).

Jesus received his mission as Good Shepherd from the Father, thereby justifying his claim to be Shepherd of Israel even if people refused to believe him. Not just the shepherd, then, but the sheep, as well, are undergoing judgment. The issue is whether people hearken to Jesus' voice or not.

Jesus closed the first part of his discourse by declaring he was both the gate leading to salvation (“I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture”) as well as the “Coming One”, a variant title of his messiahship (“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly”).

In the second half of Jesus' teaching, what distinguishes the good shepherd from the hireling is that he “lays down his life for the sheep”. As Jesus continued to speak his “figure of speech” turned into self-revelation (“I am the Good Shepherd...”). Though metaphors are employed, the address is all about Jesus and his followers (“I know my own and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father”).

When Jesus went on to speak about “laying down his life” the issue was no longer that of fighting wolves threatening the flock but of his dying on the Cross to bring all people to salvation. This included the Gentiles to be brought into the one flock by Jesus' disciples (“I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice”).

Jesus closed his dramatic teaching by declaring the voluntary nature of his death and resurrection (“No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own free will... to take it up again”). This unselfish gift of himself proved that Jesus was fully obedient to the Father, even unto death (“I have received this command from my Father”).

Peter's Pentecost speech from the Acts of the Apostle used another metaphor to describe Jesus' resurrection: “the stone that was rejected by you, the builders... has become the cornerstone”. The consequence of this divine intervention is that now “there is salvation in no one else” but Jesus.

The First Epistle of John concludes that Jesus' saving deed made his disciples “children of God” who will grow more and more into his likeness (“when he is revealed, we will be like him”).

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Messe des anniversaires de mariage le 22 avril - St. Fidelis

Cathédrale basilique Notre Dame—Ottawa
Le 3ieme dimanche de Pâques (« B »)
Jubilaires de mariage, le 22 avril 2012

« Notre cœur n'était-il pas tout brûlant au-dedans de nous alors qu'il nous parlait en chemin? »
[Textes : Actes des Apôtres 3, 13-15.17-19; Psaume 4; Première lettre de saint Jean 2,1-5a; Luc 24, 35-48]

C’est toujours une grande joie pour moi d’accueillir à la cathédrale les couples jubilaires – ainsi que leurs parents et amis – qui viennent célébrer leurs anniversaires de mariage en ce beau temps pascal.

L’évangile du jour nous parle de la présence du Christ ressuscité. Il relate le retour des disciples d’Emmaüs vers Jérusalem, où ils retrouvent les onze Apôtres et leurs compagnons. Soudainement, nous dit saint Luc, Jésus apparaît au milieu d’eux.

Chers jubilaires vous avez marché une longue route jusqu’à aujourd‘hui… À quelle source avez-vous bien pu puiser pour demeurer dans l’amour, pour persévérer contre vents et marées, pour traverser les épreuves de la vie et vous retrouver à marcher toujours ensemble. Si vous avez choisi de célébrer en Église votre jubilé, c’est sûrement parce que vous avez rencontré quelqu’un qui vous a soutenus et nourris toute votre vie.

Comme je le mentionnais il y a quelques instants, l’évangile de ce dimanche se déroule alors que les disciples d’Emmaüs reviennent à Jérusalem. La page d’évangile des disciples d’Emmaüs a toujours été aimée dans l’Église. Et pour bien des raisons.

Jésus ressuscité qui, au lieu de faire toute chose et d’être en des endroits, semble t-il, beaucoup plus important, prend un humble chemin de terre et de pierre. C’est pourtant lui le ressuscité, c’est lui la vie, la lumière du monde qui s’invite délicatement à faire route avec deux disciples qui ne le reconnaissent pas d’abord, ce Jésus qui s’explique si bien à eux et qui les explique si bien à eux-mêmes, puis se révèle et se donne dans la simplicité eucharistique du pain partagé. Ce Jésus nous touche et nous émeut.

Lorsque j'habitais la région de Toronto il m'arrivait de me rendre au Centre Newman, à l'Université de Toronto. On retrouve à cet endroit une belle icône qui représente la rencontre de Jésus avec deux disciples sur le chemin d'Emmaüs. Cette icône qui a été réalisée par sœur Marie-Paul au monastère des Bénédictines du Mont des Oliviers à Jérusalem, représente deux scènes de cette manifestation du Christ ressuscité : la marche de Jésus avec les deux disciples et leur souper ensemble au coucher du soleil. Au-dessus des images on peut lire les mots suivants : « Notre cœur n'était-il pas tout brûlant au-dedans de nous alors qu'il nous parlait en chemin? »

Une des originalités de cette icône est de nous présenter les deux disciples comme formant un couple, le mari Clopas et son épouse. Cette image nous fait voir que dans le mariage, l'état de vie auquel Dieu appelle le plus grand nombre, le cheminement spirituel tient la place principale, et que dans les partages de notre vie intime, comme c'est le cas dans le mariage, le Christ est vraiment présent, même si c'est parfois de façon discrète.

L’Évangile nous dit que Jésus est présent au cœur de toute situation humaine, que le Père cherche à travers tous les aspects de notre vie humaine à former en nous l’image de son Fils. Il existe un code de lecture de notre existence et il se trouve dans les Écritures. Celui qui le communique aux êtres humains, c’est l’Esprit Saint.

Nos jubilaires ont beaucoup reçu de la vie mais ils ont aussi beaucoup donné en retour, à leur famille d’abord, leurs amis et leur entourage. Les dons, les talents et tout l’amour reçus du Seigneur ont portés fruits en abondance dans leur vie. La grandeur de l’Amour nous pousse à donner gratuitement et généreusement.

Chers jubilaires lorsque vous regardez vos vies à la lumière de la parole de Dieu, vous pouvez avoir le cœur en paix et en joie d’avoir laissé l’Amour vous habiter et produire en vous du fruit en abondance. Car c’est du vrai bonheur que produit une vie donnée dans l’Amour.

Que votre exemple nous encourage à suivre ce chemin de l’Amour en notre temps où les médias, la mode et la publicité nous invitent sur d’autres chemins remplis de faux bonheurs…

Comme les disciples d’Emmaüs vous avez découvert que les chemins proposés par Dieu sont vrais, gratuits et libérateurs. Ils nourrissent le cœur et l’âme.

Dans le passage d’évangile de ce jour, nous voyons bien comment l’action de Jésus transforme le cœur des disciples… Cette transformation, bien entendu, est l’œuvre du Christ mais cette conversion nécessite aussi notre participation. Sinon, pourquoi en appeler à la conversion : « Convertissez-vous donc », proclament les apôtres (Ac 3,19). La conversion de nos cœurs se fait donc dans une collaboration entre le Christ et chacun de nous.

Jésus confie aux disciples qu’ils sont ses témoins (Lc 24,48; Ac 3,15). Lourde responsabilité qui peut rebuter plusieurs d’entre nous. Mais notons que Jésus ne s’exprime pas à l’impératif : « Soyez mes témoins! » Non. Il affirme simplement que les disciples sont ses témoins, ce qui constitue en quelque sorte non pas une demande, mais bien plutôt une promesse que notre conversion suffit, qu’elle nous rend aptes à témoigner de ce que le Ressuscité a fait et continue de faire dans chacune de nos vies.

Comme Jésus l’a souhaité à ses disciples et le souhaite pour nous aujourd’hui : Que la paix soit avec nous afin que nous devenions dans nos vies et par nos vies, un témoignage vivant de l’œuvre du Ressuscité. Acceptons que cette œuvre en nous ne se réalise pas une fois pour toutes, mais qu’elle se renouvelle de jour en jour, de semaine en semaine et d’année en année. Il me semble que c’est bien l’expérience de chacun d’entre nous et plus particulièrement de celle des jubilaires d’aujourd’hui.

En implorant le Ressuscité, auquel nous allons sacramentellement communier, demandons lui de veiller lui-même à la transformation de notre cœur et de tout notre être. Chaque eucharistie est une rencontre du Seigneur, et de dimanche en dimanche nous avons à revenir à lui, à recevoir de lui l’intelligence des Écritures et à le reconnaître à la fraction du pain. C’est ainsi que nous devenons ses témoins.

Merci d’être là chers jubilaires en ce jour. Puisse le Seigneur vous accompagner chaque jour de votre vie, vous combler de ses bienfaits et vous donner d’être ses témoins.

* * * * * *



O God, who were pleased to award the palm of martyrdom to Saint Fidelis as, burning with love for you, he propagated the faith, grant, we pray, through his intercession, that, grounded in charity, we may merit to know with him the power of the Resurrection of Christ. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

* * * * * *

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen has been called the "protomartyr of the Capuchin Order and of the Propaganda in Rome." He was born in 1577, became a renowned lawyer. But feeling that this profession endangered the salvation of his soul, he decided to join the Capuchin Order and employ his extraordinary gift of eloquence in urging the faithful to lead holy lives and in bringing heretics back to the true faith.

An ardent admirer of the founder of his Order, he was a great friend of poverty. Severe with himself, he was most considerate towards others, "embracing them like a mother does her children." When the Austrian army was stricken by plague, he cared for the spiritual and bodily needs of the soldiers in such a manner that he was honored with the title, "Father of the Fatherland."

His devotion toward the Mother of God was truly remarkable. Trusting in her intercession and that of other saints, he often begged God for the grace of sacrificing his life in vindication of the Catholic faith. The occasion came when he was appointed to lead the mission for the conversion of Grisons (in Switzerland); heroically he suffered a martyr's death and sanctified with his blood the first-fruits of martyrdom in the Capuchin Order (1622). [Excerpted from Pius Parsch, The Church's Year of Grace]

Monday, April 23, 2012

Optional Memorial of St. George

Veneration of St. George comes to us from the east, probably from Palestine where he was held in high honor as a martyr. Regarded as the patron of Christian armies he is venerated under this title by the Latins as well as by the Greeks.

St. George is venerated by the Eastern Church among her "great martyrs" and "standard-bearers." He belonged to the Roman army; he was arrested and, probably, beheaded under Diocletian, c. 304. He is the patron of England, since 800. St. George is one of the "Fourteen Holy Helpers."

Many legends are attached to Saint George. The most famous is the one in The Golden Legend. There was a dragon that lived in a lake near Silena, Libya. Not even armies could defeat this creature, and he terrorized flocks and the people. St. George was passing through and upon hearing about a princess was about to be eaten, he went to battle against the serpent, and killed it with one blow with his lance. Then with his great preaching, George converted the people. He distributed his reward to the poor, then left the area.

Extolling your might, O Lord, we humbly implore you, that, as Saint George imitated the Passion of the Lord, so he may lend us ready help in our weakness. 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 past couple of weeks have been very busy and I have been unable to report with photos on several activities due to the misplacement of the cable for uploading from my camera.  The few photos available have come from others who have photographed ceremonies, events.

Tomorrow, I'll have a report with photos on the Wedding Anniverary Mass for the francophone parishes held yesterday at Notre Dame with close to 100 couples marking significant anniversaries (anywhere from 5-69 years!) with photos taken by Heri Riesbeck.

Looking forward to purchasing a new cable to link camera memory cards with my laptop, I hope to catch up on events in the Journey of a Bishop in the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Third Sunday of Easter (Year "B")

Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them. But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit. And he said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have." (Luke 24:35-39)

* * * * * *

May your people exult for ever, O God, in renewed youthfulness of spirit, so that, rejoicing now in the restored glory of our adoption, we may look forward in confident hope to the rejoicing of the day of resurrection. 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. Amen.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

St. Anselm of Canterbury - Centre Montfort de soins longue durée

St. Anselm (1033-1109) was born in Aosta, Italy, and died in Canterbury, England. St. Anselm's services to the Church are principally the following: First, as Archbishop of Canterbury he defended the rights and liberties of the Church against the encroachments of the English kings, who plundered the Church's lands, impeded the Archbishop's communications with the Holy See, and claimed the right to invest prelates with ring and crosier, symbols of the Church's spiritual jurisdiction. Second, as a philosopher and theologian he developed a method of reasoning which prepared the way for the great thinkers of the Middle Ages. Third, he had a great devotion to Our Lady and was the first to establish the feast of the Immaculate Conception in the West.


Today's Optional Memorial is of Saint Anselm

As prior and abbot, Anselm made the Benedictine monastery of Bec the center of a true reformation in Normandy and England. From this monastery he exercised a restraining influence on popes, kings, the worldly great and entire religious orders. Raised to the dignity of Archbishop of Canterbury and primate of England, he waged a heroic campaign in defence of the rights and liberties of the Church. As a result he was deprived of goods and position and finally banned from the country. He journeyed to Rome, and at the Council of Bari supported Pope Urban II against the errors of the Greeks. His writings bear eloquent testimony to his moral stature and learning, and have earned for him the title of "Father of Scholasticism."— The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

St. Anselm exhibited remarkable versatility in his life; a combination of contemplation, prayer, study, writing, and external activity. This was partly the result of the extraordinary talent that God gave him, but it was likewise the fruit of Anselm's faithful exercise of his talent in the study of natural and supernatural truths. But his chief merit lay in his earnest, conscious effort to live in accordance with what he had learned from the study of divine truths. By this means he was able to ascend to the heights of a life of faith and union with God. There is very much that we can learn from this great teacher.

"Lord, I do not presume to fathom the depths of your truths, for my understanding is not equal to the task. Nevertheless, I desire to learn Your truths in some measure—those truths that I believe and love. I do not seek to gain knowledge so that I can believe; rather, I believe so that I may gain knowledge. No matter how persistently my soul gazes, it still beholds nothing of Your beauty; my soul listens intently, and yet it hears nothing of the learning of Your Being; my soul wants to breathe in Your fragrance, and yet perceives none of it. What are You, Lord? Under what image can my heart recognize You? Truly, You are life; You are truth; You are Goodness; You are Holiness; You are eternity; You are everything good! O man, why do you roam about so far in search of good things for soul and body? Love the one Good, in whom all goods are contained, and that will satisfy you!" (St. Anselm.)

Symbols: Benedictine monk admonishing an evildoer; archbishop; ship; with Our Lady appearing before him; with a ship (

* * *

O God, who led the Bishop Saint Anselm to seek out and teach the depths of your wisdom, grant, we pray, that our faith in you may so aid our understanding, that what we believe by your command may give delight to our hearts. 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. Amen.

* * * * * *


On Thursday afternoon, abbe Daniel Berniquez and I accepted the invitation of abbe Jean-Pierre Fredette (left above) to visit the Montfort facility located directly behind the Montfort Hospital. We were welcomed by the Director General M. Gaetan Grondin and an enthusiastic assembly of the elderly there.  Unfortunately, one area could not be visited because of illness on the unit.

The hospital needs to receive permission of the residents before their photos appear, so we expect other photos will be able to be posted once clearance has been obtained.  The two following photos include the two sprighly ladies Plouffe, sisters of Mgr Jean-Louis Plouffe of Sault Sainte Marie:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Easter Sunday 3B: The Risen Jesus Brings Consolation to His Apostles

The Third Sunday of Easter (Year "B")

[Texts: Acts 3.13-15, 17-19 [Psalm 4]; 1 John 2.1-5; Luke 24.35-48]

A dozen years ago, the veteran actor Richard Farnesworth received an Academy Award nomination for his performance in The Straight Story. Based on a true story, it tells of Alvin Straight's journey from Iowa to Wisconsin on a lawn-mower tractor to be reconciled with his estranged brother Lyle who had suffered a stroke. The thought of dying without being reconciled with his brother galvanized Alvin's action.

His 500-kilometre trip would take six weeks to finish. As viewers of the film follow his unusual travel, they learn of other aspects in his life and those he meets needing forgiveness and healing. We can see in this tale a parable of the brokenness of our world that calls out for the Easter message of repentance, forgiveness and healing.

As in other resurrection appearances, today's gospel narrative contains a mission dimension. Jesus commissions His disciples to go out to others with a summons to repentance. It is a proclamation directed “to all nations” and to all who live in them. “Beginning from Jerusalem”, forgiveness of sins is to be offered to all who repent.

Today's gospel account begins with the last verse of the Emmaus story in which Jesus had encountered two downcast disciples journeying outside Jerusalem. Their meeting with Jesus had fired their hearts and energized them for a quick return to Jerusalem to share their experience with the assembled disciples.

When Jesus suddenly stood in their midst, the apostles first of all thought He was a ghost. For clearly there was a difference to the manner of His risen presence to them. Yet, after showing them his hands and his feet (a reference to the imprint of the nails made when he was crucified), Jesus declared that no ghost has flesh and bones as he had. Nor would a ghost eat fish as Jesus did.

Though changed, the Risen Lord remains the same Jesus they had known. And the ministry Jesus exercised—befriending sinners, calling them to conversion and offering them forgiveness—continues. Only now it will be carried out by them under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The Book of Acts shows how zealously the heirs of Jesus' ministry—particularly Peter and John but, later also, Paul and the new generation of church elders—proclaimed repentance and offered forgiveness, healing the spiritual and physical wounds of broken lives.

In today's reading from Acts, Luke demonstrates the dynamism of the early church's evangelizing efforts. Having politely addressed his audience, Peter's sermon began with an Old Testament reference (3.13a), a Christological affirmation (3.13b-15), a ‘proof’ from Scripture (3.18) and ended with a call to repentance (3.19) that focused the sermon on the specific needs of the assembled throng (3.17).

Peter's conclusion said that ignorance may be a dimension of some sin (“I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers”), a view Jesus had given voice to during the Passion (“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing”—Luke 23.24). However, ignorance of sin's root causes cannot preclude a call to repent, to turn to that new life which God now offers through the risen Jesus.

Proclaiming the forgiveness of sins has always been closely associated with the message of Christ's resurrection. The First Epistle of John follows this pattern, but also deals with an issue that intruded upon the Church in the latter part of the first century: how could believers continue to be true to the message of Jesus and to his way of life when—though they are Christians now—sin remained part of their behaviour, their lives. For Christian life means “walking” or behaving as Jesus did: keeping the commandments and obeying what he said.

By affectionately calling his fellow Christians “my little children,” John stressed the new-born's life which they share with their risen Lord as a result of baptism into his death and resurrection. Then he went on to remind them that Jesus Christ the righteous remains every Christian's “advocate with the Father” when he or she falls into sin.

Knowing that the risen Jesus never ceases to offer pardon, healing and peace can occasion disbelief for sheer joy among Christians today, just as the risen Lord's appearance had in the disciples on the evening of that first Easter.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Yesterday as part of a visit to Jesuit confreres in Guelph, I was able to attend the following retrospective of a well-known Canadian and Catholic artist.  I had seen his work years ago in murals he painted at Corpus Christi Church, Toronto and St. Thomas More College, Saskatoon.  The exhibit for those in the GTA-Hamilton area closes on April 29; it has already been  mounted in Winnipeg and later this year will be in the museum in Victoria, BC. 

The Art Gallery of Hamilton January 28 to April 29, 2012

Throughout a career that spanned from mid-1950s until his death, William Kurelek (1927-1977) and his art have meant many different things to many people. The Alberta-born, Manitoba-raised artist was a painter of innocence and fun, his scenes reminiscences of a simpler and timeless past. He was also a chronicler of the experiences of various cultural groups in Canada, devoting entire series to Ukrainian, Jewish, Polish, Irish, French Canadian, and Inuit peoples. Then there is Kurelek the anguished prophet of a modern apocalypse, his art an indictment of the secular age and a testament to unwavering faith.

An important and unique aspect of this exhibition for Canadian audiences will be the inclusion of several works from Kurelek's highly formative period in England from 1952 to 1959. During this time the young artist underwent psychiatric treatment and converted to Roman Catholicism, which profoundly altered his subsequent approach to life and art making. It is in consideration of these early works that the exhibition reveals Kurelek's complex psyche and the central role it played in everything he produced.

As the first large-scale survey of William Kurelek in thirty years, The Messenger seeks to bring together the most important and engaging works executed by the artist during his career. The exhibition opens at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in September 2011 and will travel to Hamilton early next year before its final showing in Victoria during the summer of 2012. This exhibition includes over 80 paintings that encompass the artist's entire practice. The works are drawn from major private, corporate, and public collections in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. A major publication will be available in September 2011.

The exhibition, a partnership between the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria,
Art Gallery of Hamilton and the Winnipeg Art Gallery, is curated by
Mary Jo Hughes, Tobi Bruce, and Andrew Kear.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bienheureuse Marie-Anne Blondin - Founder, the Sisters of Saint Anne

Bienheureuse Esther [Marie-Anne] Blondin est née à Terrebonne, au Québec, en 1809, de parents cultivateurs illettrés. Esther Blondin est la troisième d’une famille de douze enfants ; encore analphabète à 20 ans, elle rêve d'enseigner un jour. En attendant, elle offre ses services aux sœurs de la Congrégation Notre-Dame et apprend à lire et à écrire dans ses temps libres. Elle développe une conscience accrue de l'exclusion de presque tous les gens de son pays qui, comme elle, n'ont pas encore accès à l'instruction.

Un essai dans la vie religieuse avorte à cause de sa santé fragile. Néanmoins, elle accepte d’enseigner à l’Académie de Vaudreuil et continue de voir l’ampleur de l’ignorance des gens plongés dans l’exclusion sociale.

Pour Esther, il faut prendre en charge l’instruction collectivement. Elle s’adjoint rapidement des femmes enseignantes qui l’amèneront à fonder, en 1850, une communauté consacrée à l’enseignement. La communauté s'appelle les Sœurs de Sainte-Anne. Comme religieuse et supérieure de sa communauté, elle prend le nom de Mère Marie-Anne.

Un projet d’avant-garde : Mère Marie-Anne conçoit un projet innovateur : fonder des écoles mixtes pour remédier à la situation pitoyable des écoles rurales de l’époque. Mais la résistance vient de l’Église. Elle apprend que « la communauté ne pourrait enseigner aux enfants des deux sexes que jusqu’à l’âge de 10 ans ».

Elle écrit à Mgr Ignace Bourget, évêque de Montréal, pour lui dire « qu’elle regarde le but qu’elle s’est proposé comme manqué parce que ce sont les pauvres qui ont fait appel à son zèle et à sa charité ». Cependant, malgré l’interdit, les Sœurs de Sainte-Anne ont toujours enseigné à des classes mixtes à tous les niveaux d’éducation.

Puis, Mère Marie-Anne rencontre de grands problèmes. Dès l'année suivante, à la suite de difficultés avec un jeune prêtre devenu aumônier du couvent, Mère Marie-Anne se rend à la demande de Mgr Bourget et accepte de démissionner comme supérieure. Elle devient alors directrice au pensionnat de Sainte-Geneviève. Mais quatre ans plus tard, elle est destituée une seconde fois.

Oubliée, puis reconnue : Mère Marie-Anne, selon son expression, est réduite à « zéro ». Si bien que son nom ne figure pas sur la liste des sœurs et de leurs emplois. En 1859, au couvent de Saint-Jacques, dans la région de Joliette, elle est nommée sacristine. Durant 30 ans, elle remplira dans l’ombre des emplois manuels selon les besoins de la communauté, jusqu'à son décès en 1890.

À cause des préjugés tenaces à son égard, elle reste dans l’ombre longtemps après sa mort. Grâce à une série de conférences données par un aumônier qui a interrogé des témoins de sa vie, l’enthousiasme se soulève envers Mère Marie-Anne.

En 1950, année du centenaire de la fondation de la congrégation, c’est le début des démarches officielles pour faire reconnaître sa sainteté. Elle a été proclamée vénérable en 1991 et bienheureuse le 29 avril 2001, par le pape Jean-Paul II.

Une présence prophétique : Les sœurs de Sainte-Anne et leurs associées poursuivent la mission de Mère Marie-Anne en cherchant à être une présence prophétique dans la solidarité et l’engagement pur la justice envers les femmes, les jeunes, les personnes appauvries et marginalisées.

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April 18 commemorates the feast of Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin, a Canadian woman whose life was a story of obedience in the face of personal setbacks.

Esther Blondin was born in 1809 to a pious, French-Canadian farm family in southern Quebec. When she was old enough, she began to work as a domestic servant for a merchant and later for the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame. While she worked for the sisters, she learned to read and write.

During that time, Esther decided to enter the congregation as a novice. However, her health forced her to abandon the pursuit. Nevertheless, the literacy she had obtained opened doors for her and she became a teacher, and eventually a director at a parochial school.

She was aware of the high levels of illiteracy in the area, and when she was 39 years old, she sought to found an order that taught both boys and girls in the same school. The year was 1848 and her idea was radical, as schools taught boys and girls separately.

Eventually, the pioneering woman received the requisite permission, and the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Anne was founded. Esther was the superior and took the name Marie-Anne. Though she was the founder and superior, Sister Marie-Anne faced much oppression from the congregation’s chaplain. He eventually had her removed from her position, and she was prohibited from holding any administrative roles for the rest of her life.

She spent her last 32 years without complaining, working in the order’s laundry and ironing room. Despite her demotion, her order continued to grow and spread across Canada and the United States.

Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin died in 1890. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2001.

O Lord, who gave Blessed Mary-Anne Blondin by her contemplation of the Cross strength to fulfil her calling through trial and in obscurity, grant that, through her intercession, we may know and make known the unfathomable mystery of Christ.  Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bienheureuse Kateri Tekakwitha - The 2012 Mass of the Neophytes

Bienheureuse Kateri Tekakwitha

Modèle de la première évangélisation et de la nouvelle évangélisation
Par le Père Thomas Rosica, C.S.B.

Lors de la Journée mondiale de la Jeunesse (JMJ) en 2002, à Toronto, il y a 10 ans, le bienheureux Jean-Paul II s’est adressé aux milliers de jeunes rassemblés sur la base militaire, à Downsview, le dimanche 28 juillet 2002, durant la messe qui clôturait cette rencontre bénie :

« Dans les moments difficiles de l'histoire de l'Église, le devoir de la sainteté devient encore plus urgent. Et la sainteté n'est pas une question d'âge. La sainteté, c'est vivre dans l'Esprit Saint, comme l'ont fait Kateri Tekakwitha, ici en Amérique, et de nombreux autres jeunes. »

Pour sa dernière JMJ, le bienheureux Jean-Paul II a choisi une jeune femme amérindienne, une des neuf jeunes saints et bienheureux qu’il a offerts au Canada en tant que patrons des JMJ 2002, comme modèles de sainteté, de bonté, d’humanité pour des millions de jeunes qui étaient et restent partie prenante de la grande aventure de la JMJ. La vie de Kateri est une curieuse histoire. Nous avons peu de paroles d’elle dans ses biographies. Qu’est-ce qui a poussé Kateri à être baptisée? Quelle fut la source de son amour de Jésus-Christ et de l’Église? Comment la vie de cette amérindienne du 17e siècle peut-elle parler aujourd’hui à la société, à la culture contemporaine et à l’Église? Comment sa foi et sa canonisation guériront-elles les peuples des Premières Nations, meurtris par les histoires d’abus, d’oppression et de discorde?

Réfléchissons à la vie de la future sainte Kateri Tekakwitha, pour voir ce qu’elle peut effectivement nous offrir. Son histoire nous est racontée dans des biographies vieilles de plusieurs centaines d’années, écrites par deux pères jésuites qui la connaissaient et priaient avec elle alors qu’ils étaient responsables de la mission Kahnawake, les pères Pierre Cholenec et Claude Chauchetière. Leurs témoignages écrits mettent en valeur la vie vertueuse de Kateri, son vœu de chasteté, la haine du péché et de soi-même, et ses pratiques extrêmes de repentance jusqu'à sa mort à l’âge de 24 ans.

Kateri Tekakwitha, connue comme le « Lys des Mohawks » et la « Geneviève de la Nouvelle-France » est née en 1656, à Ossernenon, un village iroquois sur la rivière Mohawk, dans ce qui est l’état de New York. Ce lieu est connu aujourd’hui sous le nom d’Auriseville, New York. Son nom iroquois ‘Tekakwitha’ est souvent prononcé tek’u-kwith’u. Le père de Tekakwitha était un chef Mohawk et sa mère une Algonquine catholique.

Alors que Tekakwitha a quatre ans, son village fut ravagé par la variole, emportant ses parents et son frère bébé et la laissant orpheline. La variole a laissé des traces sur son visage, et a sérieusement altéré sa vue. Bien que gravement affaiblie, traumatisée et partiellement aveugle, Tekakwitha a survécu et fut adoptée par ses deux tantes et son oncle, un chef Mohawk. La famille quitta son village et construisit un nouvel hameau, appelé Caughnawaga, à 5 miles au nord de la rivière Mohawk, qui est aujourd’hui à Fonda, dans l’état de New York.

Tekakwitha n’a pas été baptisée très jeune, pourtant elle avait de tendres souvenirs de sa chère et priante mère et des récits de la foi catholique que sa mère partageait avec elle durant son enfance. Ces souvenirs sont restés imprégnés dans son esprit et son cœur et ont influencé la suite de sa destinée. Elle allait souvent seule dans les bois pour parler à Dieu et l’écouter dans son cœur.

Lors des dix-huit ans de Tekakwitha, le père de Lamberville, missionnaire jésuite, vint à Caughnawaga, et fonda une chapelle. Son oncle n’aima pas « la robe noire », et son étrange religion, mais il toléra la présence du missionnaire. Kateri se souvenait vaguement des prières murmurées par sa mère, et était fascinée par les nouvelles histoires qu’elle entendait sur Jésus-Christ. Elle voulut en savoir plus sur Lui et devenir chrétienne. Le Jésuite persuada l’oncle de la jeune fille de lui permettre de suivre des cours d’instruction religieuse. La fête de Pâques suivante, à 20 ans, Tekakwitha fut baptisée. Elle reçut le nom de ‘Kateri’, qui veut dire Catherine en mohawk. Tekakwitha en Iroquois signifie « Une qui place des choses en ordre » [Mettre tout en place].

La jeune baptisée devint intensément dévote, et elle s’exposait délibérément à la douleur du froid, aux brûlures du charbon chaud, et se perçait la peau avec des épines pour imiter les souffrances du Christ. La famille de Kateri n’acceptait pas son choix de suivre le Christ. Malgré la beauté du récit de sa foi si sincère et si fervente, l’époque et l’environnement qui l’entouraient n’étaient certainement pas idylliques. C’était au temps de la colonisation, d’une terrible guerre opposant les peuples iroquois et algonquins, et de l’hostilité des autochtones américains envers les missionnaires qui accompagnaient les européens pour le commerce de la fourrure. Après son baptême, Kateri devint bannie de son village. Sa famille refusait de la nourrir les dimanches car elle refusait de travailler. Les enfants la raillaient et lui lançaient des pierres. Elle était menacée de torture et de mort si elle ne renonçait pas à sa religion.

À cause de l’hostilité grandissante des gens de son peuple, et parce qu’elle voulait consacrer sa vie à Dieu, en juillet 1677, Kateri a quitté son village et a fui à plus de 200 miles (322 km) à travers les bois, les rivières, les marécages jusqu'à la mission catholique de St-Francois-Xavier, à Sault Saint-Louis, à côté de Montréal. Le voyage de Kateri à travers les étendues sauvages a duré plus de deux mois. Grâce à sa détermination de se prouver qu’elle était digne de Dieu et grâce à sa foi profonde elle a eu le droit de recevoir sa première communion le jour de Noël, en 1677. Sur les rives du fleuve Saint-Laurent au Canada, Kateri vécut dans la cabane d’Anastasia Tegonhatsihonga, une autochtone chrétienne ; son extraordinaire sainteté impressionnait non seulement ses congénères, mais aussi les Français et les missionnaires. Ses mortifications étaient extrêmes, et beaucoup disaient qu’elle avait atteint l’union la plus parfaite avec Dieu dans la prière.

La devise de Kateri devint, « Qui est-ce qui m'apprendra ce qu'il y a de plus agréable à Dieu afin que je le fasse? » Elle passait beaucoup de son temps en prière devant le Saint-Sacrement, à genoux dans la chapelle si froide, durant des heures. Kateri aimait prier le chapelet, et le portait toujours autour de son cou. Kateri enseignait aux jeunes et aidait les pauvres et les malades de son village. Sa dévotion préférée était de construire des croix avec des bouts de bois et les laisser dans la forêt. Ces croix étaient des stations qui lui rappelaient de passer un moment en prière.

Pourtant, même dans le village chrétien iroquois de Kahnawake, les pressions liées aux attentes culturelles, comme le mariage et la participation dans certaines pratiques aborigènes, persistaient. Le 25 mars 1679, Kateri fit le vœu de virginité perpétuelle, signifiant qu’elle ne se marierait jamais, et serait totalement loyale au Christ pour le reste de sa vie. Kateri désirait créer un couvent pour les sœurs aborigènes américaines à Sault St-Louis mais son directeur spirituel, le Père Pierre Cholonec la découragea. La santé de Kateri, toujours fragile, déclinait rapidement, due surtout aux pénitences qu’elle s’infligeait. Le Père Cholonec encourageait Kateri à prendre mieux soin d’elle, mais elle riait et continuait avec ses « actes d’amour ».

On observe la mémoire de Bienheureuse Kateri aujourd'hui parce qu'elle est morte à l’âge de 24 ans, le 17 avril 1680, le mercredi de la semaine sainte, à 15 heures. Ses derniers mots furent : « Jesos Konoronkwa » [Jésus je t’aime]. Quinze minutes après sa mort, devant le regard de deux Jésuites et de tous les Amérindiens que la pièce pouvait contenir, les horribles cicatrices de son visage ont soudainement disparu. Ce miracle a été vu par les deux Jésuites, et tous ceux présents dans la pièce.

L’ambiance et la scène de la mort de Kateri continuent à toucher encore aujourd’hui. Nous devons lire les récits émouvants des Pères Claude Chauchetiere et Pierre Cholenec, qui était le supérieur de la mission de Saint-François-Xavier, lorsqu’ils ont été déplacés à Kahnawake, en 1716.

La cloche de la chapelle sonna à 15 heures pour réunir les Autochtones, parce qu’ils désiraient assister à sa mort. Après 15 heures, ils s’y rendirent et Kateri Tekakwitha attendit que tout le monde soit dans la pièce. Lorsque le dernier arriva, elle rentra en agonie avec tout le monde à genoux autour d’elle. Une petite demi-heure après son agonie, elle prononça ses derniers mots : « Iesos! Wari! » [Jésus! Marie!].

Puis elle eut un petit spasme au côté droit de sa bouche. Elle mourut comme si elle rentrait dans un sommeil léger et pendant longtemps nous n’étions pas certains de sa mort. Un peu avant 16 heures, son visage soudainement changea et devint en un instant tellement beau, souriant et blanc. Son visage prit une teinte légèrement rosée, qu’elle n’avait jamais eue auparavant, et ses traits furent différents. Je le vis immédiatement car je priais juste à ses côtés, et j’en poussais un cri d’étonnement. Son visage avait été tellement marqué par les cicatrices de la variole depuis l’âge de quatre ans, ses infirmités et mortifications ont aggravé encore plus son état. Avant sa mort, son teint devint plus foncé. Son visage apparut plus beau que lorsqu’elle était en vie. Je confie volontiers la première pensée qui m’est venue à l’esprit, que Kateri venait peut-être d’entrer au paradis à ce moment.

Nous avons vécu le jour de la mort de Kateri avec une très grande dévotion. Elle a quitté le village entier laissant à sa suite un parfum de sa vertu et de sa sainteté, surtout lorsque plusieurs heures plus tard je prononçais son oraison funèbre lors des prières du soir, je rappelais aux Amérindiens le trésor qu’ils possédaient puis avaient perdu avant qu’ils ne la connaissent. Kateri Tekakwitha est morte comme qu’elle a vécu, c’est-à-dire une sainte. C’était prévisible qu’une telle vie sainte soit suivie d’une mort sainte, parce que Kateri Tekakwitha était remplie de l’Esprit Saint. La simplicité des autochtones leur a fait faire plus que requis lors de cette occasion, comme lui embrasser les mains, garder tout ce qui lui appartenait comme reliques, passer la soirée et le reste de la nuit à ses côtés pour admirer son visage. Son expression inspirait la dévotion même si son âme était séparée d’elle. C’était un nouvel argument crédible que Dieu offrait aux Amérindiens pour leur faire goûter la foi.

Le 22 juin 1980, lors de sa béatification en la basilique Saint-Pierre, le pape Jean-Paul II a décrit Kateri avec ces mots :

“Lorsque sa famille l’a poussée à se marier, elle répondit avec beaucoup de calme et de sérénité que seul Jésus serait son époux. Cette décision, dans le contexte de l’époque des femmes autochtones, était un risque réel pour elle de vivre en proscrite et dans la pauvreté. C’était un geste intrépide, peu commun, et prophétique : le 25 Mars 1679, à l’âge de 23 ans, avec l’accord de son directeur spirituel, Kateri a fait vœu de virginité, et le plus loin que l’on s’en souvienne, ce fut la première fois que cela se voyait chez les Indiens d’Amérique de Nord.

Les derniers mois de sa vie furent une manifestation encore plus claire de sa foi très solide, de sa franche humilité, de sa calme résignation, et de sa joie radieuse, même au beau milieu de terribles souffrances. Ses derniers mots, simples, sublimes, murmurés au moment de sa mort, résumèrent, tel un noble hymne, une vie empreinte de charité pure : « Jésus, je t’aime ».

S’adressant aux Autochtones d’Amérique du Nord, juste après sa béatification, le 24 juin 1980, le pape Jean-Paul ll a dit :

« Vraiment la bienheureuse Kateri se dresse devant nous comme le meilleur symbole du patrimoine qui est le vôtre, indiens d’Amérique du Nord. L’Ėglise a déclaré au monde que Kateri Tekakwitha est bienheureuse, que sa vie sur terre fut un exemple de sainteté et que maintenant, au paradis, elle est membre de la communion des saints qui sans cesse intercèdent pour nous auprès du Père miséricordieux.

Sa béatification devrait nous rappeler que nous sommes tous appelés à une vie de sainteté, qu’avec le baptême, Dieu a choisi chacun de nous à « être saint et immaculé et à vivre à travers son amour ». La Vie de sainteté – l’union avec le Christ à travers la prière et l’exercice de la charité – n’est pas réservée à une élite choisie parmi les membres de l’Église. C’est la vocation de tous. »

Et plus récemment, le pape Benoit XVI a mentionné ce grand modèle de sainteté lorsqu’il s’est adressé aux jeunes et aux séminaristes du Séminaire St Joseph à Yonkers, New-York lors de sa visite historique aux États-Unis, le 19 avril 2008.

« Sainte Elizabeth Ann Seton, sainte Françoise-Xavière Cabrini, saint John Neumann, la bienheureuse Kateri Tekakwitha, le vénérable Pierre Toussaint et le Père Felix Varela: n'importe qui d'entre nous pourrait être parmi eux, parce qu'il n'y a aucun stéréotype dans ce groupe, aucun modèle uniforme. Mais à y regarder de plus près, ils ont des éléments communs. Embrasées par l'amour de Jésus, leurs vies sont devenues de remarquables voyages d'espérance. Pour certains, cela voulait dire quitter leur maison et s'embarquer pour un pèlerinage de milliers de kilomètres. Pour chacun d'eux, il y a eu un acte d'abandon à Dieu, avec la confiance qu'il est la destination finale de tout pèlerin. Et ils ont tous offert une main tendue d'espérance à ceux qu'ils rencontraient sur leur chemin, en éveillant souvent en eux la vie de la foi. Par des orphelinats, des écoles et des hôpitaux, en se faisant amis des pauvres, des malades, et des marginaux, et par le témoignage convaincant qui vient du fait de marcher humblement sur les pas du Christ, ces six personnes ont ouvert la voie de la foi, de l'espérance et de la charité à un nombre incalculable de personnes, y compris peut-être vos propres ancêtres. Kateri parle à notre génération. »

Le 22 juin 1980, Kateri Tekakwitha a été béatifiée comme la première amérindienne américaine par le pape Jean-Paul ll. Sa fête est célébrée le 14 juillet aux États-Unis, et le 17 avril au Canada. Le 21 octobre 2012, elle sera la première indienne d’Amérique du nord à être canonisée. Elle parle aux souffrants, aux persécutés, et aux affligés. Ses racines s’étendent des États-Unis au Canada, aux deux communautés française et anglaise. Kateri représente parfaitement l’Ecclesia en Amérique. Elle est un pont merveilleux de guérison et réconciliation pour notre monde contemporain et l’Église – un vrai symbole des liens forts entre les catholiques et nos frères et sœurs autochtones de nos terres.

En tant que modèle de chasteté et de pureté, Kateri est un guide sûr, nous enseignant comment vivre notre sexualité avec plaisir et en respectant le plan d’amour de Dieu. L’exemple de Kateri nous apprend que le corps est la porte d’entrée du salut, et donc la façon dont nous le traitons est important. Si nous ne pouvons pas dire « non » alors notre « oui » ne signifiera rien. Plus nous acceptons la chasteté et en faisons notre ligne de conduite, plus notre entourage sentira que l’Esprit Saint nous habite. Lorsque nous vivons notre sexualité de façon correcte, en accord avec notre état de vie, les autres seront capables de trouver Dieu en nous.

Et enfin, en tant que patronne de l’écologie et de l’environnement, Kateri nous enseigne comment aimer et respecter la création, et comment en prendre soin. Sa vie terrestre était méconnue au 17e siècle, et pourtant son message continue à retentir à travers les époques, nous rappelant qu’une vie chrétienne et son message sont bons, beaux, saints, et durables. De son vivant, Bienheureuse Kateri Tekakwitha était un instrument de la première évangélisation. À travers sa mort, et son adhésion à la communion des saints, elle est un modèle éternel de la nouvelle Évangélisation pour l’Église.

(Cet article est paru dans l’édition anglaise de l’Osservatore Romano, le 7 mars 2012)

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A few days ago, I received this latest book by Garry Wills on baptism in the early Church in Milan (Font of Life: Ambrose, Augustine and the Mystery of Baptism, published by Oxford and available yesterday in Canada--it was available two weeks earlier in the USA). 

It was good preparation for the Mass of the Neophytes (those fully initiated into the Life of Christ by baptism, confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil) celebrated Sunday morning at Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica.  As in past years, the Mass was followed by my guided tour for the newly initiated and others who wished to take part. 

We viewed the statuary and decoration of the cathedral sanctuary and, afterwards, a visit to the treasures of the archdiocese displayed in the sacristy.  Jean-Claude Grant took these pictures, which he shared with me: