Saturday, January 31, 2015

Michaelite Named London Bishop

Today, His Holiness Pope Francis appointed Reverend Father Józef Dabrowski, C.S.M.A., 50, currently Superior of the North American Vice-Province of “St. Kateri Tekakwitha” of the Congregation of St. Michael Archangel (—the “Michaelites”) and Pastor of Saint Mary Parish in London, as Titular Bishop of Case of Numidia and Auxiliary Bishop of London.

Aujourd’hui Sa Sainteté le pape François a nommé le Père Józef Dabrowski, C.S.M.A., présentement Supérieur de la Vice-province de l’Amérique du Nord « Ste. Kateri Tekakwitha » de la Congrégation de l’Archange Saint Michel et Curé de la paroisse Saint Mary dans le diocèse de London, évêque titulaire de Case de Numidia et évêque auxiliaire à London.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Knights of Columbus Pioneer Council 485—115 Anniversary Mass

St. Basil’s Church, Ottawa, 3rd Sunday Ord.Time (“B”) January 25, 2015
[Jonah 3.1–5, 10 [Psalm 25]; 1 Corinthians 7.29–31; Mark 1.14–20]

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I am delighted to be with you here at St. Basil’s Church for this celebration of the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, on which we also give thanks to the Lord for the Pioneer Knights of Columbus Council #485. Your predecessors established your council 115 years ago during the episcopacy of Ottawa’s first archbishop, Thomas Duhamel, whose crozier I bear this morning for the occasion.

Every Sunday, we celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord and our own baptism, which was the moment each of us entered into communion with the Paschal Mystery. Christ’s Resurrection has forever changed the world and invites our continuing transformation.

The prophet Jonah, from whose book we heard a passage, anticipated symbolically the resurrection of Jesus. Jonah was brought back to life on earth after three days in the belly of a great fish. He was converted, that is, “turned around,” in his orientation towards the things of God. He heard the call of the Lord to go on a missionary voyage “a second time.”

Paul describes his experience of an encounter with the Risen Lord Jesus by saying that “the present form of this world is passing away.” Thus, we need to live in a paradoxical way (“those who mourn as though they were not mourning, those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing” and so on). 
He prescribed a degree of detachment even in marital relations and business dealings to concentrate more on the things of God.

All three scripture readings introduce us to people called to a special ministry. Not only did they undergo conversion themselves through their encounter with Christ Jesus, but they proclaimed conversion as well. And this wasn’t as easy as it might sound. Conversion is a continuous and difficult reality.

Peter, Andrew, James, and John immediately left trade, possessions, and family to follow Jesus unreservedly. But the rest of Mark’s gospel shows that they struggled before fully accepting the new mind-set of Jesus.

Both Jonah and Paul also went through turmoil before they yielded to God’s invitation to change their way of viewing the world. Jesus’ challenge to “repent and believe in the Good News” may be more difficult than it first appears.

We all remember from the Jonah story when he was swallowed by a whale, then vomited onto dry land after uttering a prayer of thanksgiving for deliverance. Let’s not forget that the reason Jonah was in the depths of the sea was that he was fleeing from Nineveh after God summoned him to preach judgement and repentance. After Jonah proclaimed repentance and Nineveh repented, he brooded because the effect of God’s mercy left his oracle of judgement unfulfilled. Jonah was truly a reluctant prophet.

The Book of Jonah also traces a change in the prophet’s role from that of delivering oracles of judgement to one of persuading people to a change of heart. For God’s decrees can be reversed through repentance.

When Mark tells his story of Jesus, after John had been arrested, Jesus came into Galilee preaching conversion (“repent”). Jesus’ preaching contained a further appeal to “believe in the good news.”
John the Baptist predicted the imminent arrival of one who would baptize with the Spirit. That time had arrived (“the time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God has come near”). Near, but not yet here, in full power. In Jesus’ ministry, the Kingdom of God has entered into history, even though its full appearance is yet to come.

Paul plays on this tension between the “already” and “not yet” aspects of God’s Kingdom. Christ’s kingdom has “already” come into our world by the Paschal Mystery and the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, but it is “not yet” fully achieved in our hearts and lives.

Jesus chose to rely on fellow evangelists to spread the good news. In today’s gospel, He called others to fish for people. This alludes to the former livelihood of four Galileans and the way in which Jesus transformed their lives by His call: “follow me and I will make you fishers of people.”

Cardinal Lacroix wears a fishhook on the lapel of his suit coat. When I asked him about it, he said that we don’t usually win people to Christ with a fishnet—one among many—but one “fish” at a time!

That call to fish for people, catching them up in God’s great fishnet, even if we hook them one at a time, is the invitation that Pope Francis keeps stressing. He reminds each of us of the obligation we have taken on by virtue of our baptism to share our encounter with the Risen Lord with others. God uses us to lead others to enjoy eternal life, life in all its fullness.

This brings me to the wonderful apostolate of the Knights of Columbus that we are honouring at this Mass. The hundreds of members who have been part of Pioneer Council 485 over the past 115 years have grown in Christian faith and virtue as a result. They—and you, this generation—have provided invaluable service to the Church and other charitable works. You have upheld the principles of charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism as high ideals for your sons and fellow parishioners to emulate.

We can look back with fondness on some highlights. This council spearheaded the establishment of the Knights of Columbus in Ontario in1900, three years before you formed councils in Kingston, Cornwall and Peterborough, and four years before there was an Ontario State Council. In 1953, Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent was your guest speaker with 400 in attendance. There were 1,000 members in the single Knights of Columbus English-speaking Council in Ottawa. Although your number has fallen to fewer than 200, your golf tournament has allowed you over a dozen years to donate more than $100,000 to the Heart Institute. The Foundation makes many other donations to worthy causes.

I encourage you to seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance to discern what He is calling your council to today. He has a plan for you individually and corporately. Don’t hold onto the old days, but seek the new adventures He is calling you to.

Works of Christian charity and justice, Pope Francis and our bishops, chaplains and priests keep reminding us, must issue from our being disciples of Jesus, rooted in him through prayer, reflection, and study. Columbia magazine is a rich monthly treasure trove of aids to our growth in Christ. Read it and the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the lives of the saints. Prayerfully reflect on what the Lord is calling you to be as dynamic Catholic men for today.

I note that you have three round-tables: here at St. Basil’s, at St. Elizabeth’s and at Sheng Shen (Holy Spirit) Chinese Catholic Parish. That last one may inspire you to bless more new Canadians at our Catholic parishes (Vietnamese, Korean, Polish, Sagrada Familia Hispanic, Croatian and other ethnic and national linguistic groupings) with life as a Knight.

May God continue to bless you with energy, zeal, and growth for many years to come!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Jesuit Father Lawrence Brennan Served in Northern Ontario

Father Lawrence Edward Brennan died peacefully in the Lord on January 15th at the Ajax-Pickering Hospital. He was in his 88th year, a priest close to 55 years and in religious life for nearly 70 years.

Lawrence Brennan was born on June 8, 1927 in Regina, Saskatchewan, the son of Daniel Brennan and Jessie Mullins. His older brother Joseph (now serving at the Jesuit Pre-Novitiate in Darjeeling, India) entered the Society of Jesus in 1942 and three years later Lawrence followed him to the Novitiate at Guelph, Ontario.

After taking First Vows in 1948, Mr.Brennan  did the usual two-year programme of collegial studies in the Juniorate before moving to Toronto to study Philosophy at the Jesuit Seminary. In 1954, he began his long ministry to the Native People of Northern Ontario when he was assigned to teach at Garnier Residential School in Spanish, Ontario. After labouring there for three years (it closed in 1958), he returned to Toronto in 1957 to study Theology at the Jesuit Seminary, then located at 403 Wellington Street West.

Father Brennan was ordained in Toronto on June 19, 1960; his last year of formation in ascetical studies— the Jesuit Tertianship—followed in 1961 at St. Beuno’s in Wales.

On his return to Canada in 1962, Father Larry was sent to Holy Cross Mission at Wikwemikong on Manitoulin Island; he thrived in Northern Ontario. He spent three years at Wikwemikong, eighteen years at Heron Bay, and lastly, thirteen years at Armstrong, for a grand total of thirty-seven years (which includes his Regency, teaching as a Jesuit scholastic).

Father Larry’s final appointment saw him move to the La Storta Jesuit Residence in Pickering, beginning in 1996. He was involved in pastoral ministry and served at the Martyrs Shrine during the summer season from 1996 to 2009. In both locales he was renowned for his grocery shopping, looking for bargains, oft-times buying foodstuffs that were past their ‘best before’ date.

Father Brennan was greatly appreciated by the Native People at Heron Bay who made him an Honorary Chief; he was a character possessed of special traits. It was in the early 1960s that he decided that the Volvo automobile would be best for his transportation needs. The last one, which he bought in 1993, served him faithfully until 2012 when he donated it to a refugee. It was in sparkling condition with no sign of rust or dents.

As well, he was a fount of knowledge, not only about the Native Peoples apostolate and on the Canadian Martyrs, but also on Jesuits and on the history of the Jesuit Province. Never shy at expressing an opinion on a variety of topics, his mind was clear to the very end of his life. He had been looking forward to presiding at the René Goupil Jesuit Infirmary Christmas Eve Mass, with his moose-skin chasuble and Honorary Chief head-dress, when he was hospitalized on December 23rd.

A man of prayer, Father Larry Brennan was devoted to the time-honoured forms of Catholic piety – holy hours, the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, litanies, feast day vigils, etc. In fact, he often led these devotions for his fellow Jesuits in the Infirmary Chapel.

The wake service for Father Brennan will take place on Tuesday, January 20 from 7 to 9 PM (with a Prayer Service at 8 PM) and the Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday, January 21 at 10:30 AM—both in the St. Ignatius Chapel at Manresa Retreat House, Pickering, ON. Following the funeral, burial will take place at the Jesuit Cemetery, Guelph at 2:30 PM.

R. I. P.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Hungarian-Canadian Brother Feigl

Brother Rudolf Feigl S.J. died on Thursday, January 8, 2015. He was 93 years old and in his 71st year of religious life in the Society of Jesus.

Rudolf Feigl was born on November 23, 1921 and entered the Novitiate of the Society of Jesus in Hungary on September 5, 1944.

Having arrived in Canada as an immigrant in 1954, Brother Feigl served in Hamilton for four years at Saint Stephen Church, pronouncing his Final Vows as a Jesuit brother on February 2, 1956.

From 1958 he worked in Courtland, Ontario where the Hungarian Jesuits in exile had a residence, serving  at the community of Saint Laszlo Church as Minister (manager of temporal matters), cook and pastoral assistant for fifteen years.

In 1973, he was sent to Toronto, where he served at Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Church. One of his main duties was to organize the altar servers. He became “the Brother” for the altar boys, who loved him dearly.

In 2007, he retired to Hamilton and resided at Saint Elizabeth Villa there until his death. 

The funeral was celebrated at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church, Toronto, this afternoon, Saturday, January 17 at 2 PM.  His remains will be interred in Courtland.

Requiescat in pace.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Chaldean Eparch for Canada

Today, His Holiness Pope Francis appointed Reverend Chorbishop Emanuel Shaleta, currently Parish Priest of the Chaldean Parish of St. George in Michigan as Eparchial Bishop of the Chaldean Eparchy of Mar Addai of Toronto.

Aujourd’hui, Sa Sainteté le pape François a nommé le Révérend Chorévèque Emanuel Shaleta, présentement curé de la Paroisse chaldéenne St-George au Michigan, comme évêque éparchial de l’Éparchie chaldéenne de Mar Addai de Toronto. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Cent ans de la Naissance de Mgr Plourde - Centennial of the Birth of Archbishop Joseph-Aurèle Plourde

Archbishop Plourde died a week short of his 98th birthday on January 5, 2013. Today marks the centennial of his birth. To commemorate this milestone, the homily at his funeral is reproduced below:
Nous nous rappelons de Mgr Plourde, huitième évêque et septième archevêque d’Ottawa à l’occasion du centenaire de sa naissance en republiant l’homélie à ses funérailles :

Sur les armoiries de Mgr Plourde – qui ont déjà été gravées sur le tombeau dans lequel son corps sera déposé, dans la crypte de cette cathédrale – on remarque qu’une étoile y tient une place de premier choix. Cette étoile représente « Stella Maris, l’étoile de la mer », cette Marie, Mère de Dieu, qui attire les croyants à son Fils tout comme l’étoile de Bethléem attira les Mages à l’Enfant Jésus. Les derniers papes ont reconnu en Marie l’étoile qui saura nous guider dans la nouvelle évangélisation, celle qui est capable de ramener les chrétiens qui se sont éloignés du Christ et de son Église dans la maison qui est leur.

Archbishop Plourde’s coat of arms is already etched onto the sarcophagus in the crypt below this cathedral that will soon enclose his mortal remains. On it, a star is prominently displayed. It is a depiction of Stella Maris, the Star of the Sea, a symbolic illustration of Mary. She helps draw each believer to Christ, just as the Star of Bethlehem drew the Magi to the Christ Child. Recent popes have seen in Mary the lodestar of the New Evangelization, needed now to draw errant Christians back to their true home.

Joseph-Aurèle Plourde, disciple of Christ, priest, and bishop, died in the Christmas season on the eve of the Epiphany, when followers of Jesus are full of joy at his manifestation as God Incarnate. Our Lord God, by his very appearance in a human body, began to put an end to the reign of sin. This he would definitively overcome by his death and resurrection, giving all believers hope for a homeland where we “need no star to guide, where no clouds God’s glory hide.”

Joseph-Aurèle Plourde, chrétien, prêtre, évêque et disciple du Christ, est décédé pendant le temps de Noël, la veille du jour de l’Épiphanie, alors que les cœurs sont remplis de joie devant la manifestation de Jésus Christ, Dieu fait homme. En prenant chair parmi nous, notre Seigneur a déjà commencé à mettre fin au règne du péché.

Les lectures que nous avons choisies pour cette messe viennent soulager notre peine. Elles nous aident à prier le Seigneur de bien vouloir recevoir, pardonner et accompagner notre frère—notre pasteur, notre guide, notre ami, celui  avec qui nous avons travaillé à la Vigne du Seigneur—dans les doux pâturages qui sont siens, et lui accorder de connaître le bonheur éternel comme il l’a promis à ses disciples.

La vie de tous chrétiens se déroule durant la période de temps qui se situe entre les deux grands événements de l’histoire : le mystère pascal du Verbe de Dieu fait chair, sa mort et sa résurrection, et le retour du Seigneur qui viendra accomplir dans la gloire le plan de Dieu pour ses disciples.

La liturgie nous rappelle que nous devons être attentifs. Le Seigneur Jésus reviendra à la fin des temps, certes, mais il se manifestera également à nous au moment de notre mort, au sujet de laquelle, comme ce fut le cas pour Mgr Plourde, nous ne connaissons ni le jour, ni l’heure.

Le concile Vatican II dont nous célébrons le cinquantième anniversaire cette année, et auquel Mgr Plourde était fier d’avoir pu participer, nous rappelle avec insistance que le moment le plus important dans la vie de tout chrétien est le moment de son baptême – car c’est à ce moment-là qu’il est transformé alors qu’il renonce au péché et participe à l’amour du Christ.

Pour Joseph-Aurèle Plourde, le huitième dans une famille de onze enfants, cela s’est déroulé il y a près de 98 ans. C’est au moment de son baptême qu’il a entrepris son long pèlerinage de chrétien.

Plus tard, au moment de sa confirmation, il reçut la force de l’Esprit Saint qui lui permit d’accomplir sa mission. La fréquentation des sacrements de la Réconciliation et de l’Eucharistie permit à  Joseph-Aurèle de se rapprocher du Seigneur. Jeune adulte, Joseph-Aurèle entendit l’appel du Seigneur à devenir prêtre et plus tard il répondit généreusement à l’appel de l’Église qui l’invita à servir le peuple de Dieu comme évêque, rôle apostolique qu’il exerça pendant 48 ans.

Baptismal imagery permeates Christian funerals. The lit paschal candle symbolizes Christ’s presence among us. The celebrants wear white garments. Our brother also wears white in his coffin. This reminds us that we are clothed with the new life of Christ at baptism.

A rich sacramental life, the precious Word of God, and deep personal prayer stirred our brother, Joseph-Aurèle Plourde. He expounded on these in his ministry, gave conferences about them in his retirement, and wrote about them in several publications.

We have many memories of this intricate man. He could be at the same time hospitable, crusty, humorous, tender, and brilliant. But these stories must await another occasion.

For now, I would like to situate the man and his achievements in the context of faith. God accompanies us through the darkest valley—even the shadow of death. He does not abandon us. Our Lord is there to guide us with his crook and his staff. He anoints our heads with oil. He causes our cups to overflow. And he endows us with his goodness and mercy all the days of our life.

C’est ce rôle de Bon Berger que Joseph-Aurèle Plourde, ce successeur des apôtres, s’est efforcer de remplir tout au long de son ministère. En tant que président de la Conférence des évêques catholiques du Canada puis membre fondateur  de ce qui est devenu l’Assemblée des évêques catholiques de l’Ontario, Mgr Plourde exerça son rôle de pasteur en coopération avec les autres pasteurs de l’Église, cherchant toujours à encourager les autres à accomplir fidèlement la mission dont nous parle saint Paul dans la deuxième lecture (2 Timothee 1, 8b-14). Ce texte nous raconte comment le prêtre-évêque est prêt à souffrir avec le Christ pour proclamer l’Évangile en comptant sur la force que Dieu donne, sur celui qui nous a sauvé et nous a appelé à cette vocation sainte, non à cause de nos bonnes actions mais à cause de son propre projet et de sa grâce.

Avec saint Paul, Mgr Plourde nous dit à nous tous qui sommes rassemblés autour de lui  aujourd’hui : « Prends comme modèle les paroles véritables que je t’ai communiquées, tiens bon dans la foi et l’amour que nous avons dans la communion avec Jésus-Christ. Garde les bonnes instructions qui t’ont été confiées, avec l’aide du Saint-Esprit qui habite en nous. »

Il n’y a pas de don ou de talent qui ne puisse être mis à contribution par le Seigneur au service de son Église. Mgr Joseph-Aurèle Plourde a mis ses talents d’analyste des questions sociales au service des pauvres d’ici et d’ailleurs. Il a défendu la dignité et les droits des travailleurs et de la population francophone de l’Ontario, surtout en ce qui a trait à l’accès à l’éducation en français. Comme l’a fait Mgr Plourde, il est important encore aujourd’hui d’encourager les jeunes hommes à mettre leurs talents au service du peuple de Dieu.

Always sociable, Archbishop Plourde enjoyed company. He would love a card game, particularly bridge, followed by sharing food. He would have no trouble accepting the Lord’s invitation to the eschatological banquet at the end of time that Isaiah foretold in the first reading (Isaiah 25.6-9).

In the gospel (John 15.9-17), we recall the invitation Joseph-Aurèle Plourde received to be in relation with Jesus, not as a servant, but as a friend. In his ordination homilies and ministry, he invited those called to be deacons, priests, and bishops to become Jesus’ companions and friends. Our entire church is to become a fellowship of disciples and friends in the Lord who would go forth and bear fruit, fruit that will last. This is what Archbishop Plourde had in mind as he encouraged the people of his diocese, at the start of his ministry in Ottawa, to confide in him their thoughts, fears, and hopes.

In this Year of Faith, let us be grateful for this wonderful High Priest, whom God called to himself at the end of a lifetime of service. Let us pray that Christ the Good Shepherd bless him with a merciful reward. May the Saviour lead him to the springs of eternal life, which he contemplated, preached, and yearned for from his earliest days until his final breath.

Alors que nous contemplons le mystère de l’Épiphanie, rappelons-nous que « les Mages ont suivi l’étoile, et ainsi ils sont parvenus jusqu’à Jésus, jusqu’à la grande Lumière qui éclaire tout homme venant en ce monde (cf. Jn 1, 9) Comme pèlerins de la foi, les Mages sont devenus eux-mêmes des étoiles qui brillent dans le ciel de l’histoire et nous indiquent la route. » (Benoît XVI, Homélie pour la solennité de l’Épiphanie, le 6 janvier 2013)

Rendons grâce à Dieu pour Mgr Plourde qui à l’exemple des Mages a guidé son peuple avec courage et générosité. Imprégné de l’amour  de Dieu, il est devenu lui-même une étoile cherchant toujours à le faire connaître aux autres et à le faire aimer.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

L'Eglise de Rimouski en deuil

Mgr Pierre-André Fournier a perdu conscience soudainement à l’archevêché, peu après avoir béni une assemblée d’une vingtaine de personnes hier, samedi 10 janvier. Il a été transporté d’urgence à l’hôpital de Rimouski, où son décès a été constaté à 12 h 35. Il n’avait pas repris conscience.
L’archevêque de Rimouski avait subi quatre pontages coronariens le 17 décembre dernier à l’hôpital Laval, à Québec. Le chirurgien lui avait également remplacé une petite partie de l’aorte. Par la suite, il a reçu un stimulateur cardiaque. Mgr Fournier avait été transféré à l’hôpital de Rimouski peu après le jour de l’An et il était revenu chez lui, à l’archevêché, lundi dernier.
Benoît Hins, vicaire général du diocèse et ami proche de l’archevêque, précise que Mgr Fournier semblait pourtant bien se porter et il avait même repris ses activités. Il avait célébré la messe depuis son retour.
Son décès a plongé l’archevêché dans la consternation. « Il est parti avec nous, entouré des gens qu’il côtoyait régulièrement à l’archevêché. Nous sommes tous en état de choc », explique Benoît Hins.
Âgé de 71 ans, Mgr Pierre-André Fournier était l’archevêque du diocèse de Rimouski depuis septembre 2008. Il avait alors succédé à Mgr Bertrand Blanchet qui avait pris sa retraite. Mgr Fournier était originaire de Plessisville.
Une grande cérémonie dont les détails seront connus ultérieurement sera organisée pour lui dire un dernier adieu. Le décès de Mgr Pierre-André Fournier plonge dans le deuil l’ensemble des 103 paroisses du diocèse de Rimousk

Monday, January 5, 2015


A longer post than usual: three recent Ottawa ordinations to the diaconate: two candidates for the Priesthood and one Permanent Deacon. 
Ce blogue est un peut long: deux ordinations diaconales de Candidats au sacerdoce et une personne au Diaconat permanent en dix jours:

Diaconal Ordination of Richard Lorenz at St Martin de Porres Parish, Bells Corners, ON [Anticipated] Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year “B”)–December 20, 2014
[Texts: 2 Samuel 7.1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16 (Psalm 89 [88]); Romans 16.25-27; Luke 1.26-38]

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Advent and the Christmas season dwell on God’s plan to bring salvation, joy and peace to all humanity. But the unfolding of God's saving plan takes place in an unassuming a manner, much like  God's surprising decision to take David from pasturing sheep to shepherding Israel. Or calling Rick Lorenz to be a deacon and priest. 

From Luke's narrative of the Annunciation, we get the impression of God's eye sweeping over the world until it lighted on a tiny village in Galilee, Nazareth, and focused in on a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, who, we are told simply, was “of the house of David”.  In the rhythm of the text, we can sense the angel coming to Mary in a meeting that was both awesome and transforming.

Mary—as with many others called by God—experienced confusion and fear.  The angelic reassurance immediately led to Gabriel's revelation of God's purpose: “you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus”.

God's design was to fulfil the promise to David in a way scarcely imaginable.  The child this country girl is to bear “will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David”.  God's promise to David would come about not by means of an earthly, political reign but in a spiritual dominion without end.

Mary's reply recalls Zechariah's question that we heard yesterday when the gospel announced the birth of John the Baptist.  Whereas his response suggested doubt regarding God's plan, Mary's query was guileless and fully in keeping with faith in God.  She declared simply that she had not had sexual relations with a man.  The angel Gabriel —equally straightforwardly—replied that her child would be begotten through the Holy Spirit's overshadowing.

Mary's reply manifests the classic expression of trust in all that God might ask of a creature, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (1.38). It models for us a way to respond when God calls us to some special task as is the case with our brother in Christ, Rick Lorenz, this evening.

Gabriel offered Mary a profound sign of God's activity in the world, the joy of her relative Elizabeth, who, though formerly barren, had also conceived a son. It is such gospel joy that Pope Francis stresses in his first major writing, Evangelii gaudium.  His Apostolic Exhortation opens with the following words, “The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness”.

In this present period of our life of the Church under the leadership of Pope Francis, every Christian, but particularly anyone called to Holy Orders or consecrated life, is being invited to taste this joy again, or perhaps for the first time, so as to be able to share it with those who hunger and thirst for what a meeting with Christ can bring them.

The Holy Father goes on to say, “I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them… the Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms” (EG, #3). Isn’t that what we would want for every person who comes through the doors of our churches this Christmas season? And, if they did experience this gospel joy, what a great grace it would be to them and to our church family here in the Archdiocese of Ottawa!

Beloved brothers and sisters: this man, Richard Lorenz, our son who is your relative and friend, is now to be advanced to the Order of Deacons.

In this ordination rite, our brother in the Lord will receive an outpouring of the Spirit of God to enable him to serve God's people in diaconal (and later on, priestly) ministry.  He should be fully convinced that, no matter what eloquence or learning may be his from his studies at prior to and at, St. Augustine’s Seminary (and we are grateful for that learning), the power of his ministry to touch people's lives derives from the Holy Spirit at work in the proclamation of Jesus. 

This holds true whether his ministry leads him to play guitar at praise and worship with the poor who frequent the shelters of Ottawa’s Shepherds of Good Hope, cover for a padre during the Christmas break in Alert, Canada’s military post closest to the North Pole, attend the pilgrims at Lac Sainte Anne, Alberta or engage school age students and visit the home-bound elderly as a pastoral intern here at St. Martin de Porres parish.

A deacon needs to keep ever in mind that it is Christ's Word of Truth that transforms doubting, hurting and needy men, women and children who open themselves to his message and gift of the Kingdom into salt for our earth, light for our world.  Rick's task, as deacon and future priest, will be to help all God's children let their light shine before others and give glory to God in Heaven.

Strengthened by the gift of the Holy Spirit in ordination, this man will help the Bishop and his priests in the ministry of the word, of the altar, and of charity. He will be a servant to all. As a minister of the altar, he will proclaim the Gospel and its message of compassion and hope. He will prepare the altar for the Lord’s sacrifice, and distribute the Lord’s Body and Blood to the faithful.

In addition, it will be his duty, at the Bishop’s direction, to exhort believers and unbelievers alike. He will instruct them in holy doctrine. He will preside over public prayer, administer Baptism, assist at and bless Marriages, bring Viaticum to the dying, and conduct funeral rites.
Consecrated by the laying on of hands that comes down to us from the Apostles, he will perform works of charity in the name of the Bishop or the pastor. With the help of God, his labours will give public testimony of being a disciple of the Lord who came not to be served, but to serve.

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

Ordination au Diaconat permanent de Joseph Elivert—Fête de la Sainte Famille (Année «B»)—le 28 décembre 2014—Église du Sacré-Cœur, Ottawa  
[Textes: Genèse 15, 1-6; 21, 1-3  [Psaume 104 (105)]; Hébreux 11, 8, 11-12, 17-19; Luc 2, 22-40]

La Parole de Dieu en ce dimanche de la Sainte Famille de Jésus, Marie et Joseph nous invitent à apprécier l’Histoire du Salut depuis les débuts du peuple juif jusqu’à son accomplissement avec la venue du Messie.

L’alliance de Dieu avec ses enfants est faite avec ce que nous sommes et avec ce que nous avons de bon à donner. La postérité peut, bien sûr, se voir dans les enfants comme nous le rappelle l’Écriture en ce jour… par ailleurs, elle se laisse deviner dans les actions simples du quotidien  d’attention, de tendresse, d’accueil et de respect, qui traduisent l’offrande de ce que nous avons de meilleur. L’alliance a donc pour but de prendre ce que nous sommes prêts à donner (parfois même au prix de sacrifices) et de le mettre en partage avec Dieu pour que celui-ci le fructifie au centuple.

Tout ce que je viens de dire, est certainement vrai pour l’ensemble des disciples du Christ, mais je pense aujourd’hui particulièrement, à Joseph qui va être ordonné diacre.  Une ordination  n’est pas  un rite conclusif venant marquer la fin d’une période d’initiation, période qui fut, pour toi Joseph, assez longue... Elle est fondamentalement un événement spirituel, une rencontre avec le Seigneur. Dans la célébration de l’ordination, l’Église présente à Dieu un homme pour qu’il en fasse un évêque, un prêtre ou un diacre, mais en accomplissant cela, l’Église s’en remet à Dieu et s’efface devant l’action de l’Esprit Saint.

La Bonne Nouvelle  de ce dimanche parle de l’Esprit Saint…

Que serions-nous sans l’Esprit du Seigneur ?

Quelle parole pourrions-nous annoncer sans l’Esprit du Seigneur ?

Quel service arriverions-nous à accomplir sans l’Esprit d’amour ?

Nous ne pouvons donner que ce que nous avons d’abord reçu, et cela fait de nous des êtres de gratitude et de partage, d’humilité et de joie.

En cette fête de la Sainte Famille l’évangile nous rappelle que nous devons, nous laisser conduire par l’Esprit Saint.

Ce n’est pas par hasard, que saint Luc, par trois fois, souligne la présence de l’Esprit Saint dans le milieu qui entoure Jésus, et le reconnaît. Le trait le plus caractéristique de Syméon, c’est bien l’intimité qui existe entre Lui et l’Esprit de Dieu : « l’Esprit repose sur lui », « l’Esprit Saint lui a révélé » qu’il verrait le Messie, « l’Esprit (encore) a guidé ses pas vers le temple ».On a presque l’impression d’être dans une page des Actes des Apôtres, où l’Esprit vient sur les disciples de Jésus pour leur donner de « reconnaitre et de proclamer » le Seigneur ressuscité.

Dans quelques instants, Joseph, je vais t’imposer les mains. Tu vas être ordonné diacre. Cette ordination n’est pas un hasard, ni un instant magique, ni le résultat d’une ambition personnelle : c’est l’œuvre de l’Esprit de Dieu dans ta vie, le don de la grâce divine à une communauté croyante.

Joseph, on ne fait pas le diacre. On est diacre. Le diacre est configuré au Christ serviteur. Il est la présence sacramentelle du Christ serviteur au milieu de nous. Oui, le diacre est l’homme du service. La prière d’ordination le confirme: « Que le diacre fasse preuve d’une charité sincère, qu’il prenne soin des malades et des pauvres et qu’il s’efforce de vivre selon l’Esprit Saint ».

Pour comprendre le diaconat, il ne faut pas partir de ce que fait le diacre. Il peut faire des choses, très diverses selon les charismes personnels, les besoins de la mission, les étapes de la vie. Il faut partir de ce qu’il est : présence sacramentelle du Christ serviteur. Autrement dit, ce n’est pas quelqu’un qui serait plus serviable que les autres ou plus généreux, ou plus disponible. 

Quand on se situe uniquement dans le faire, on se place dans des questions d’organisation du religieux.

L’Église n’est pas une organisation du système du religieux. Elle est Mystère d’Amour, voulue par Dieu pour le Salut du monde. Sa raison d’être est de permettre à l’être humain de goûter l’amour de Dieu révélé dans le Christ.

Le thème de l’Année pastorale nous rappelle ce qu’est vraiment l’Église : Nous sommes de la famille de Dieu : l’Amour est notre mission. «Quiconque fait la volonté de Dieu, celui-là est mon frère, ma sœur, ma mère…» (Marc 3,35)

En ces jours de Noël, nous nous rappelons les Noëls que nous avons vécus. Nous nous rappelons les moments de joie et les moments qui ont été, peut-être, un peu plus difficiles. Partout, toujours, Dieu est là et nous accompagne – dans nos joies et nos tristesses. C’est ce qui nous permet de continuer notre route  et de passer à travers les difficultés que nous rencontrons. Nous savons que Dieu est toujours là avec nous.

La grande famille de Dieu est composée d’une multitude de familles : il y en a qui se portent bien; il y en a qui connaissent des difficultés, des ruptures; il y en a qui connaissent la joie et d’autres qui sont dans la tristesse; il y a des familles traditionnelles et des familles recomposées. Toutes ces familles font partie de la grande famille de Dieu. Toutes ces familles cherchent à combler le besoin d’amour de chacun de leurs membres.

La fête de la Sainte Famille, avec l’évangile de la Présentation du Seigneur au temple…nous rappelle aussi les liens étroits qui unissent les générations, jeunes et moins jeunes. Nous le savons la communauté haïtienne est particulièrement sensible à cette réalité… Vous êtes un bel exemple pour nous! 

Puisse le Seigneur bénir chacune de nos familles en ce temps de Noël. Puisse la Nativité du Seigneur nous apporter guérison, paix et consolation.

Gardons la Sainte Famille comme modèle et prions pour l’Église répandue par toute la terre, qui s’apprête à se réunir de nouveau en synode sur la famille à Rome en octobre prochain.

Joseph, au moment où tu accèdes librement à l’ordre du diaconat, il faut, comme les disciples choisis par les Apôtres pour le ministère de la charité, que tu cherches à être toujours un homme estimé de tous, rempli d’Esprit Saint et de sagesse.

Enraciné et fondé dans la foi, montre-toi pur et sans reproche devant Dieu et toute personne, comme il convient à un serviteur du Christ et à un intendant des mystères de Dieu; ne te laisse pas détourner de l’espérance de l’Évangile dont tu seras non seulement l’auditeur mais aussi le ministre.

En ces jours de Noël, en ce jour de ton ordination diaconale, je t’invite, Joseph, à la joie, à la confiance et à la simplicité du cœur avec ta famille et tous ceux et celles que le Seigneur, mettra sur ta route.

Chers frères et sœurs, que l’ordination de notre frère Joseph aujourd’hui soit aussi pour nous une invitation à répondre à l’appel de Dieu.

Comme nous le rappelle le pape François : « La joie de l’Évangile remplit le cœur et toute la vie de ceux qui rencontrent Jésus. Ceux qui se laissent sauver par lui sont libérés du péché, de la tristesse, du vide intérieur, de l’isolement. Avec Jésus Christ la joie naît et renaît toujours » Evangelli Gaudium No.1.

* * * * *

Diaconal Ordination of Gerard Plant at Holy Redeemer Parish, Kanata, ON
Friday of the Third Week of Advent–December 19, 2014
[Texts: Judges 13.2-7, 24-25a (Psalm 70); Acts 6.1-7b; Luke 1.5-25]

All of the Scriptures speak to us of how extraordinary interventions from God break into the daily events of ordinary human lives. These divine initiatives set in motion life-changing experiences.

In the second reading, we heard of the Spirit’s election of seven men of good repute to be consecrated in order to care for the needs of God’s people in the Church of Jerusalem. This created the office that we have come to call the “diaconate”, a work of charity that worked closely early on with the ministry of the apostles.

Over time, the diaconal office or order took on various shapes and forms until it evolved in our time and by command of the Second Vatican Council in such a way that “deacons” have come again in our time to serve as the right hand men of Bishops, responding to every kind of need, material and spiritual.

Deacons serve prisoners, the homebound sick and elderly, and children and single-parents who are at risk because of poverty.  In our diocese, deacons have been involved in shelters operated by the Shepherds of Good Hope, in planning the closing ceremonies of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation process, in school chaplaincy, Native Ministry and so much more. Gerard you are being associated with wonderful men and their wives who share in their selfless dedication.

Moreover, in this year that sees the Universal Church grapple with the Pastoral Challenges facing the family in the context of the New Evangelization by means of two synods on the Family in Rome as well as in the World Meeting of Families to be held in Philadelphia, the Scriptures also draw our attention to the piety and openness to God’s will found in two Jewish families: the parents-to-be of Samson in the Book of Judges and the parents-to-be of John the Baptist in the opening scene of the Gospel of Luke situated in the Jerusalem Temple. We won’t push this too much, Gerard, but both of these longed-for sons died violently, zealous for God’s glory and the truth of the gospel of life. 

I mention the influence of family in the life of some who discern a call from God because of a remark Gerard made in the brief account of his vocation that I asked him for so I could prepare for this occasion.  He said that “my life story is a little long, so if I were to simply say a few words it would be that my journey thus far has been filled with many ups and downs and of course many travels. But before I get into that, I would just first like to say, that if it was not for my parents and their living faith in God, there is a good chance I would not be standing here today.” So thank you to Gerard’s parents who were instrumental in his accepting the call that has brought him to the commitment he is to make tonight.

I think it would not be inappropriate for me to note that getting to this consecration by the laying on of hands took Gerard some time, as he first approached the Ottawa archdiocesan vocation director in 2004, but entering seminary was put off at that time.  We spoke about the priesthood, Gerard and I, shortly after my arrival in 2007, but it was only in 2009 that he felt ready (with some fear and trembling even then) to enter St. Augustine’s Seminary. With a touch of delighted surprise he now observes about of this step, “Lo and behold the seminary actually accepted a rough neck like me—God is good. This journey that has taken me from the streets of Vanier to the great walls of St Augustine is incredible to look back on. After having answered the call, I now sit here, on the verge of being ordained to the transitional deaconate.  Wow.  What a journey!” And a final remark he makes is this, “God calls His servants to do His work, not because He needs them, but because it is the best thing for them”….

Perhaps there are some men—young and a bit older—who are also hesitant to say yes to the Lord’s call. We are ready to patiently accompany you—ask any of the priests here tonight to share with you their journey and you share yours with them.  We have great need for zealous priests here in the Archdiocese and we would be pleased to journey with you in prayer, conversation, good humour and the joy of the gospel to see what God is asking of you and how you might accept a call, whatever state of life it may be. Please, everyone, pray for vocations to the priesthood.

Beloved brothers and sisters: this man Gerard Plant, our son who is your relative and friend, is now to be advanced to the Order of Deacons.

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

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

Strengthened by the gift of the Holy Spirit, this man will help the Bishop and his priests in the ministry of the word, of the altar, and of charity. He will be a servant to all. As a minister of the altar, he will proclaim the Gospel and its message of compassion and hope, prepare the sacrifice, and distribute the Lord’s Body and Blood to the faithful.

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

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

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

Like those chosen by the Apostles for the ministry of charity, you should be a man of good reputation, filled with wisdom and the Holy Spirit. Consider your ministry of caring for the poor and needy as an extension of God’s compassionate mercy. God withdraws from caring for the poor so that we can do so.

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

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

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

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

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