The Inter-Par was established as a tool of communication between the various parishes of the Diocese of Hearst as early as 1973. For almost 50 years the publication has been published weekly from the beginning of September to the end of June. This year, we now publish over the summer. Here are the latest issues.
Happy Mother’s Day
What Susan Jordan writes about her mother, Jesus could have said the same about his mother, our mother, as well. On this blessed day for all mothers, why not find a special way to express our love and gratitude.
When God set the world in place,
when He hung the stars up in space,
when He made the land and the sea,
then He made you and me.
He sat back and saw all that was good,
He saw things to be as they should.
Just one more blessing He had in store;
He created a mother, but whatever for?
He knew a mother
would have a special place
to shine His reflection on her child’s face.
A mother will walk the extra mile
just to see her children smile.
She’ll work her fingers to the bone
to make a house into a home.
A mother is there to teach and guide,
a mother will stay right by your side.
She’ll be there through your pain and strife,
she’ll stay constant in your life.
A mother will lend a helping hand
until you have the strength to stand.
She’ll pick you up when you are down,
when you need a friend she’ll stick around.
A mother is one who listens well,
will keep her word; will never tell.
A mother never pokes or pries
but stands quietly by your side,
giving you the strength you need,
encouraging you to succeed.
A mother is one who can be strong
when you need someone to lean on.
You’re more than a mother to me;
a reflection of Him in your face I see,
a love that knows no boundaries.
I’m glad that you chose to be
all this and more to me.
You share a love that knows no end,
you’re more than my mother,
you are my friend.
Sunday of Prayer for Priestly Vocations
The staggering fact that there are no seminarians for our diocese indicates why this Sunday of Prayer for Priestly Vocations is so important. It is a clear sign of the need for us, priests and lay faithful, to take up the privilege of inviting the next generation of future priests to hear and embrace the call. Each of us should be a vocation recruiter.
Recently a newly ordained Bishop at the close of his episcopal ordination said he had intended to say a word to his seminarians only to learn he had none. So he proposed to everyone there to say a daily “Hail Mary” asking Mary’s intercession for vocations to the priesthood. He expressed his confidence that if all did this in a year — day for day — God would bless them with three seminarians.
I propose we do the same in our diocese, confident that God will give us a seminarian in the coming year. And if he gives us more than one, we’ll take the others too.
What are we looking for in a candidate for the priesthood? One great question to ask is: Would he make a good son-in-law? Bring it up. A number of years ago, I suggested to a young man that I thought he had signs that God was calling him to be a priest. He was a bit put off, even annoyed because it interfered with his plans for studies and a career. But that seed grew and now he is a priest and has become the Vocations Director in his diocese. So, please help plant the seeds of vocations by asking or suggesting this to good men.
Pope Francis says: “The Church is either on the move or she is not the Church. Either she evangelizes or she is not the Church.” As we prepare to welcome our new Bishop, let us commit to inviting people back to church and young adults to open themselves a call from God to the priesthood.
✠Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Our Lady: Patron and Model for Mothers
As Christ hung dying on the cross, he placed his Blessed Mother under the care of his apostle, the beloved disciple. “Behold your mother,” Christ said to John, and by extension, Jesus said the same to us. Mary is our spiritual mother — the most loving mother the world has ever known because she counts as her children all of humankind.
Mothers both know and yet do not completely know everything about their children — this was especially the case for Mary. That God chose her from among all women to be the mother of the Saviour was a mystery that, during her earthly life, she never entirely understood. St. Luke tells us that Mary pondered, or meditated upon, this mystery in her heart. To look at him, her son Jesus was in every respect fully human, except that unlike us he never committed any sin. Yet he was also fully God, which he first revealed at a wedding at Cana when, at his mother’s request, he spared the bride and groom being embarrassed by changing water into fine vintage wine.
We can imagine Mary’s pride when Jesus began his public ministry and by his teaching showed the world the way to salvation, and by his miracles showed God’s compassion and mercy to a sick, suffering world. We can also imagine her intense emotional agony as she followed her son as he was humiliated, tortured and crucified. There is no more poignant image of Mary than the Pietà — the heartbroken mother holding in her arms the body of her lifeless child. Any parent who has lost a child knows exactly how Mary felt at that moment.
Today in the shrines of Lourdes, Fatima and Guadalupe, in parish churches, chapels and oratories, in some silent corner of the heart, millions call on Mary for help. She is, as Blessed Pope Pius IX said in 1851, “the best of mothers and our safest confidante … the very motive of our hope.”
This is why Catholic Christians devote the month of May to Mary, for it is the month in which we celebrate our mothers. We honour her with daily recitation of the rosary, processions, and a ritual of crowning her statue with garlands.
Let us invoke her intercession this month for our families, our parishes, our diocese, the church and the world.
The first week in May is known as Catholic Education in our 37 publicly funded Ontario Catholic School Boards. This year’s Catholic Education Week will place during the week of May 1 – May 6, 2022.
Based on the text from the Book of Revelation 21.5, “Behold, I make all things new” Catholic Education Week theme is “Rebuild, Restore, Renew Together”.
The theme was inspired by the following considerations: In the face of the continuing reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, a strong desire by the planning committee, and supported by feedback from the survey, the themes for Catholic Education Weeks 2020 and 2021, were “Igniting Hope” and “Nurturing Hope”, and all we know for certain is that there will be much to “Rebuild, Restore and Renew Together” in 2022.
The challenges to personal and spiritual well-being posed by the uncertainty and physical isolation of the current global crisis makes the timing and the concerns of Mental Health Week, which takes place during the same week as Catholic Education Week, all the more relevant.
Ongoing recognition by our Catholic educators of the findings of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission and the relevance of Indigenous culture and spirituality will continue to move Catholic education forward.
The Ontario Ministry of Education’s focus on Inclusion and Equity resonates with all educators and administrators as Catholic schools desire to serve all of God’s children and Pope Francis’ encyclical entitled, Fratelli Tutti, will guide Catholic educators in their good work.
✠Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Divine Mercy Sunday
This Sunday, April 24, the Second Sunday of Easter has been known since the Year 2000 as “Divine Mercy Sunday”.
St Faustina Kowalska is known throughout the world as the “Apostle of Divine Mercy,” for that was what she wrote about in her Diary, devotion to Our Blessed Lord’s divine mercy. The Divine Mercy Devotion can be seen as an extension of the traditional devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The Divine Mercy Devotion has become so widespread in the Universal Church since it began in the 1930s that five days after St. Faustina’s canonization, the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship decreed that the Second Sunday of Easter would henceforth be called Divine Mercy Sunday.
This spirituality is focused on an image of Christ who blesses those who contemplate him; from his side two rays emanate (white and red, representing the blood and water that flowed from his pierced side). Below the image are the words, “Jesus, I trust in you”.
This devotion centers on a special time (3:00 pm), the hour of Christ’s death on the Cross; a special series of prayers (the Chaplet of Divine Mercy); and a novena that begins on Good Friday and leads up to Divine Mercy Sunday.
Why this devotion? What does it mean? It challenges those who minimize sin to take seriously the reality of sin. It also supports even the greatest sinner. Both are to take comfort in God’s mercy.
It is not uncommon for a priest to hear a penitent in confession confess a sin, but to add an excuse for it: “Father I lied, but it was a white lie;” “Father I gossiped about someone, but everyone already knew.” Or else, individuals are tempted to worry about bringing a sin too big for the merciful Jesus to forgive. Divine mercy is offered to all sinners.
In the image of Divine Mercy revealed to St. Faustina, Jesus shows her his pierced heart with the blood and water that flow from the crucifixion. There is an immediacy and abundance to this mercy. This fount of mercy was opened for us on Calvary by a soldier’s lance.
Tradition holds that this soldier’s name was Longinus. He is an image of every one of us. Just as Longinus pierced the heart of Jesus, so we pierce his heart by our sin. That can be an uncomfortable thought. But in the very moment that Longinus thrust his lance, an ocean of mercy fell upon him. So too, with our sins, our Lord is ready to envelop us in his mercy immediately and abundantly.
There is no doubt that examining our sinfulness is difficult and perhaps some of us have fallen out of the practice of examining our conscience and making a regular confession. The longer it has been, the more it can feel like our hearts have become encased in stone, that nothing can break us free. But the blood and water that flows from Jesus’s side can break down that stone allowing our hearts to beat and come to life again.
Tradition holds that Longinus repented, was baptized and was a martyr who testified to the mercy that flows from the heart of Jesus. Today, there is a statue of St. Longinus at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome holding a lance. The instrument of his sin has become a symbol of how much Jesus is able to forgive. We who are willing to confess our sins and receive God’s mercy also testify to the love we have from our heavenly Father. A love desperately longed for by every human heart.
In taking part in Divine Mercy devotions, we foster confidence in the mercy available from the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord. We seek the grace courageously to admit our sins before Jesus with hope in the love and mercy he is waiting to give us.
“O blood and water, which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus as a fountain of mercy for us, I trust in you.”
For further information on Divine Mercy: https://jp2centre.com/divine-mercy.
✠Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Apostolic Administrator’s Easter message 2022
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
The images we see on television of the war in Ukraine are horrific. And the pictures of refugees — mainly women and children — fleeing for the lives touch us profoundly.
We are touched in heart and spirit by a compassion that wells up spontaneously within us. We cannot help ourselves. We want to cry out to God with the psalmist, “How long, O Lord” must people suffer like this?
We are troubled too by other news such as fear of a coming “sixth wave” of the Covid pandemic. We experience sorrow over the many divisions that have fractured families and friendships. We grieve at the hurts that call Canadian society to heal and reconcile with the Indigenous Peoples of this land.
Today’s world is troubled and troubling. The two year period of Covid lockdowns, masking and social distancing have threatened the economic and religious stability of our parishioners. Our parishes are at risk. We ask ourselves whether people will return to Sunday Mass.
Into these circumstances comes the news of the resurrection of Jesus. In St. Luke’s account the message of the angels takes on a particular tone, “why do you look for the living among the dead?”
In our Easter faith, Jesus goes forth to encounter his disciples and every man, woman and child throughout the ages, including our own. He comes and shares with us his joy, peace, the Holy Spirit and the special gift of himself “in the breaking of the bread”—in Holy Communion.
St. Luke notes the apostles’ disbelief came from sheer joy on their part: “in their joy they were disbelieving”. News of the resurrection appeared to them too good to be true!
Risen and alive, Jesus comes to us in the Easter Sacrament of Holy Communion. Today in our churches, we recognize him as the disciples on the Road to Emmaus did “in the breaking of the bread” (Luke 24.35).
The sacrament of charity, the Holy Eucharist is the gift that Jesus Christ makes of himself, revealing to us God’s infinite love for every man, woman and child.
In the sacrament of the altar, the Lord meets us, men and women created in God’s image and likeness (cf. Genesis 1.27) and becomes our companion along the way. In this sacrament, the Lord truly becomes food for us, to satisfy our hunger for truth and freedom.
This explains the importance of Sunday Mass in feeding our spiritual life. Our faith is endangered when we lose the desire to share in the Eucharist and to experience in our parish church the victory Christ has gained for us.
Today, as we celebrate our victory with Christ, I invite you to renew your commitment to participating in Sunday Mass — the little Easter — every Sunday without fail. This is a sure path to the holiness God wishes each of us to have.
The Good News of the Kingdom — of Christ and his message — can still bring healing, health and peace. May God give you and yours Easter joy, and zeal to share the Good News we have received as God’s gift!
Truly knowing Christ and the power of his resurrection changes us at the very core of our being! People testify that this happens to them when notions about God, Christ and the Church become real, when they experience the joy and peace Christ brings. I’ve seen it in my own life.
My Easter wish for each one of us in the Diocese is that all of us—young and not so young—will experience anew, and discover fresh ways to share, the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection.
✠Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum
I wish to invite as many Catholics of our Diocese as possible to take part in the celebrations of Holy Week, particularly Palm Sunday and the great Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday so as to celebrate a joyous Easter.
In the first century, the early Christians celebrated every Sunday in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus. By the second century, they established a particular day for the celebration of the resurrection, which was connected to the Jewish Passover.
Their observance began at sundown on Saturday evening. They called it the Night of the Great Vigil, a time of remembrance and expectation that lasted throughout the night so they could sing “Alleluia” at dawn on Easter morning. It was during the Night of the Great Vigil that new Christians were received into the Church.
By the fourth century, it became customary for people to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem to celebrate what was called the “Great Week,” which included Holy Thursday (recalling the Last Supper Jesus held with his disciples), Good Friday (recalling Jesus’ Passion and Death) and the Easter Vigil (Christ’s victory over death to offer us a new life) and Easter Sunday. The diary of a woman named Egeria in 381 contains the first accounts of the special rites, prayers and devotions that took place in Jerusalem during the Great Week.
Over time, the practice of observing Holy Week spread throughout the Christian world, with prayers, historical re-enactments and special liturgies. During the Middle Ages, the celebration of the Easter Vigil gradually fell out of practice. The important days of the week were Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. In 1955, the Vatican re-established the Easter Vigil as an important part of Holy Week observances.
During the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), the bishops called for the restoration of the early Christian rituals for receiving new Christians into the Church at the Easter Vigil. In 1988, the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults was issued.
Today, Easter Vigil with the Easter fire, the lighting of the paschal candle, the reading of salvation history, the celebration of the sacraments of initiation for catechumens (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) and renewal of baptismal promises for the faithful is once again an integral part of Holy Week celebrations.
The word “Triduum” comes from the Latin word meaning “three days,” and encompasses the three most sacred days in the Church year. It begins at sundown on Holy Thursday, reaches a high point at the Easter Vigil, and concludes with evening prayer at sundown on Easter Sunday.
The liturgical celebrations during the Triduum on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday are rich with symbolism and flow from one to another in a seamless way. While it may appear as if these liturgies are separate and distinct, they are actually intended to be one continuous celebration that commemorates the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. For this reason, Catholics are encouraged to observe the entire Triduum by attending all of the liturgies.
Another celebration during Holy Week occurs when bishops bless sacred oils in the diocesan cathedral at a special liturgy known as the Chrism Mass. Afterwards, the oils are distributed to the parishes for sacramental celebrations throughout the year. The Chrism Mass is an ancient celebration that traditionally takes place on Holy Thursday morning. In recent years, many dioceses have celebrated the Chrism Mass in, or close to, Holy Week (as we did last Thursday at the Hearst Cathedral) to allow as many priests and people who come a long distance to attend.
May our participation in these sacred events serve to deepen our knowledge and love of Our Saviour Jesus Christ who, as St. Paul says, “loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2.20).
✠ Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Apostolic Administrator of Hearst-Moosonee
Invitation to the Chrism Mass and Obligation to the Sunday Mass
Last year we celebrated the Chrism Mass in a limited way due to the Covid pandemic. This year, most health restrictions have been lifted and we should be able to celebrate the Chrism Mass with greater freedom but still cautiously.
Archbishop Prendergast, SJ, our Apostolic Administrator, invites us to join him at 1:30 PM on Thursday April 7 in the Cathedral church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Hearst.
This celebration is one of the few gatherings that unites priests and people from all over the diocese. We surround our bishop in the act of blessing the sacred oils and manifesting the unity of the priests who form the presbyterate. During this celebration we thank the Lord for the priests who serve among us, a sign that God stays near us and grants us the pastors we need. The priests will renew their promises to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, the prayer of the Church, for the people entrusted to them and their commitment to serve the diocesan Church in collaboration with the Bishop.
The oils that Archbishop Prendergast will bless and that we will use for the spiritual good of our communities are:
The oil of catechumens — OS (Oleum Sanctorum): pure olive oil is used to fortify by exorcism in the fight against sin and evil, preparing those to be baptized for the sacrament.
The oil of the sick — OI (Oleum Infirmorum): a symbol of life, abundance and purification, is used to fortify the recipient. It too is pure olive oil with nothing added except the blessing of the Bishop.
The Holy Chrism — SC (Sacrum Chrisma) contains a mixture of olive oil and a perfume as a sign of the abundance of God’s many blessings. Holy Chrism signifies the fullness of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and leaves an indelible mark on the soul of the one anointed with it in Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders (at the ordination of priests and bishops). It is also may be used at the consecration of sacred objects: churches, altars and bells.
Parish representatives are invited to
join in prayer on
Thursday, April 7, 2022 at 1:30 pm at
the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption in Hearst.
Returning to the Obligation to Assist at Sunday Mass
On March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, as Administrator Bishop I issued a decree lifting the dispensation from the obligation for Catholics to participate in celebrating the Lord’s Day each Sunday (or an anticipated Mass on Saturday evening). In March 2020, Most Reverend Robert Bourgon, Bishop of the Diocese of Hearst-Moosonee dispensed with the obligation to Sunday Mass in light of the coronavirus pandemic for the safety of the faithful and the common good.
However, now that restrictions have been lifted for public gatherings, including worship, in gratitude for the decrease of the danger to public health caused by the coronavirus and for the good of souls, I hereby restore the Sunday obligation for Catholics starting on Saturday, April 9, 2022, the Vigil of Palm Sunday.
This means, all Catholics, unless impeded by a serious cause are obliged to attend Mass on all Sundays and holy days of obligation (Christmas Day and the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God). As has always been the case, anyone with a “serious reason” or “grave cause” is excused from this obligation. Such reasons include: anyone who is sick, symptomatic or recently exposed to the coronavirus; anyone with serious health risk factors that requires them to avoid public spaces; anyone who cares for someone who is sick; anyone who cannot attend Mass, through no fault of their own, because of frailty or old age.
My sincere prayer is that the trials of these two years may lead us to a renewed faith in Christ’s Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist, a renewal of Sunday as a family day of prayer and rest, and cultivate within our souls a desire that sees our obligation as the greatest privilege of our faith.
✠ Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Apostolic Administrator of Hearst-Moosonee
Sundays of Joy and Solidarity
This Sunday — Laetare or “Rejoicing” Sunday — marks the half-way point of Lent. The Fourth Sunday of Lent takes its name from the first word of the Latin Entrance Antiphon laetare (rejoice!); it is a Sunday of joy.
Lent is half over, and Easter is enticingly near. This Sunday is our foretaste of Easter joy. Knowing the ebb and flow of intensity even in our best efforts, God deals with us tenderly in rhythms of consolation and desertion. So today, thoughts of freedom and joy come in the middle of Lent.
On Laetare Sunday (as similarly with the Third Sunday of Advent’s Gaudete Sunday) the Church expresses hope and joy in the midst of our Lenten fasts and penances. Call it pink — or, more fittingly, rose — this change in colour indicates a glimpse of the joy that awaits us at Easter, just before we enter into the somber days of Passiontide.
The joy of Easter being around the corner is symbolized in a few other interesting liturgical possibilities. During Lent, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal forbids flowers adorning the altar. But on Laetare Sunday (as well as solemnities and feasts within the season—the solemnities of St. Joseph and the Annunciation), there’s a temporary halt to these penitential observations!
At one time, marriages were generally forbidden during Lent, but Laetare Sunday was often associated as a day when marriages could be celebrated during the penitential season. While marriages are now only forbidden on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, Laetare Sunday is still a fitting day for those wishing to be married before Eastertide.
Laetare Sunday is the Church’s way of giving us a “shot in the arm” as we approach the darkness and horror of the days through Good Friday and Holy Saturday. It’s an opportunity to savor and keep in the back of our minds what awaits us on Easter Sunday — the reality that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, and that our hearts will always be filled with joy!
Being aware of traditions and customs assists us in celebrating the beauty of our faith. As you can see, there is much associated with even a nondescript day like the Fourth Sunday of Lent — not to mention the rest of the season, or the fifty days of Easter and beyond. Let us take advantage of the richness of our Catholic traditions.
Next Sunday, April 3, the Fifth Sunday of Lent has been declared Solidarity Sunday by the Bishops of Canada. It is a time within our Lenten practices of prayer, abstinence and fasting to turn to the third practice—almsgiving. Monies that we have saved from fasting and abstinence or that we have put aside week by week can be directed to the needs of the poor in our country and throughout the world. In our diocese of Hearst-Moosonee next Sunday’s collection is for Catholic Missions in Canada, which assists needy Canadian dioceses, especially in the North and in service of our Indigenous communities.
On Monday, March 28, Thursday, March 31 and Friday, April 1, Indigenous leaders from across Canada (representing First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities) will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican to share with him stories of the intergenerational wounds they have experienced in or as a result of the residential school system. They will ask him to hear and learn from them and in the near future come to Canada to offer an apology on Canadian soil. We pray that this event will help all of Canada to move towards the reconciliation we all hope for.
As we are beneficiaries of the funding agency Catholic Missions in Canada, I encourage all Catholics to give generously to this collection next weekend.
✠ Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Please continue to pray for an end to the war in Ukraine and for reconciliation with Russia—countries which both have large Orthodox Christian populations.
To contribute to relief efforts for the many Ukrainians who have been forced to flee their homeland and who live as refugees, please contact the following Catholic charitable agency assisting Oriental churches: CNEWA Canada at https://cnewa.org/ca/campaigns/ukraine/
The Annunciation to Mary as seen by a Ukrainian Painter
Many artists over the centuries have been inspired to paint the Angel Gabriel’s Annunciation to Mary. They reflected deeply on the extraordinary event when God called the maiden of Nazareth to be the Mother of the Saviour of the whole race.
Given the world’s attention to the war in Ukraine these days, I offer for your reflection the recent painting of The Annunciation by the Ukrainian painter, Ivanka Demchuk. The American social commentator Rod Dreher helps us appreciate her vision in his interpretation.
“Notice the Virgin, sitting inside grey granite walls, expectantly. She hears someone coming from the other side of the wall — from the realm of light and, it seems, fields of wheat. At her foot, the Virgin has a fig sapling — a symbol of Israel, whose Messiah she carries in her womb, unawares.
“On the windowsill sits a pomegranate, a symbol of fertility and of resurrection: the babe she carries in her womb will be the portal through which humanity will find eternal life, and enter into the realm of harvest abundance. The pillows on the couch bring to mind the coat of many colours of Joseph, son of Jacob, who was sold into slavery by his brothers, but later exalted, and shown mercy. Christians consider him to be a prefigurement of Christ.
”Notice how delicate the Archangel Gabriel’s fingers are, hovering above the granite. All it would take is the lightest touch, and the walls would come tumbling down. The tension in the painting is remarkable.
“Perhaps Gabriel looks a bit sad because he knows that the glad message he carries, symbolized by the lily, will also bring sorrow one day to the Virgin. But for Mary, she is taut with expectation, sensing the presence of the numinous about to make itself manifest. The thick walls have becoming paper thin in this holy moment.
“What is she reading, do you think? We know from Scripture (Luke 1. 46-55) what she will say when Gabriel announces the news:
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices
in God my Saviour,
for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all
generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done
great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is
for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength
with his arm;
he has scattered the proud
in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the
powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry
with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise
he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to
his descendants for ever.’
“It’s as if time past and time future is all concentrated in that single moment. Mary’s eyes are open, as is her heart, to receive the God she will bear. Perhaps Ivanka Demchuk’s art can teach us how to open our eyes and our hearts to God?”
As we reflect on this painting when the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Annunciation on this Friday, March 25, let us pray that God will bring peace to Ukraine and reconciliation with Russia. For the one whom Mary conceived in her womb chose to be known as the “Prince of Peace”.
✠ Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Saint Patrick & Saint Joseph
This week, the Church recalls two great saints, on March 17, St. Patrick, who evangelized the Irish and on March 19, St. Joseph the foster-father of Jesus. As someone of Irish extraction our family always feted St. Patrick, who is patron of our English-language parish in Kapuskasing.
Patrick came from Roman Britain. He was the son of a deacon and the grandson of a priest. Yet he was not at all religious, probably because his family had embraced holy orders for social and financial gain. Though he had been baptized and perhaps fully initiated, he did not know Jesus Christ. The need to evangelize cultural Christians is not unique to our time!
Patrick was captured by Irish raiders, taken to Ireland, and put to work in slave-like conditions. In his misery and loneliness, he turned to God in prayer. He prayed hundreds of times, he says, day and night.
Patrick likely made contact with fellow Christians in Ireland. After some years, they helped him escape and return home. But as novelist Thomas Wolfe put it, “you can’t go home again.” Not as the same person. The new Patrick served Jesus.
The Irish beckoned to Patrick in a recurring dream, “come back to us, lad, to help us” [much like the Macedonian who spoke to Paul in a night vision, saying “come over to Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16.9)].
And so Patrick went to Gaul to study scripture and the budding pastoral theology of the day. He took holy orders as a deacon, priest and bishop. He returned to the Irish and led them to Christ.
St. Patrick set the foundations of Christian civilization. He likened his life as Christ taking him as a tiny smooth stone, lifting him up, and placing him on the top of the wall. Isn’t that what Christ is doing for each of his disciples? He ennobles and dignifies us, taking us from our lowly status and placing us on the top of the wall.
At the beginning of the Second Vatican Council, a bishop from Yugoslavia, prompted by the Spirit, rose up to say that St. Joseph was too neglected in the church’s teaching. And what response did he get? General laughter! Was this why the Ecumenical Council had been convened?
And yet the bishop did not have to wait long for his answer. On the following day, November 12, 1962, a Cardinal, speaking for Pope John XXIII, declared that the Holy Father had decided to introduce St. Joseph’s name into the Canon of the Mass.
It was a bold move to change the Eucharistic Prayer that had not been touched since the 16th century. But Good Pope John was giving expression to his own inmost thought, as earlier, on March 19, 1961, he had placed the Council in the hands of St. Joseph and had made sure that the altar dedicated to St. Joseph in St. Peter’s Basilica was resplendent so as to be attractive to Catholics. Above all, the Pope was fulfilling the wish of a priest who died a saintly death in 1869, offering his life that Joseph might be given his rightful place in the Church and especially that his name might be inscribed in the Canon of the Mass.
Last year in the worldwide Church, we celebrated a Year dedicated to St. Joseph prompting reflection and prayer. Once Joseph emerged from the shadows as an admirable protector and provider, the Holy Family also became more real and believable — a family you could tum to and even imitate in some way.
Granted, the Nazareth household is unique. But their communion of life and love is an example for all families — and for all members of that larger family, the Church. The Holy Family, guided by St. Joseph with the Child at the center and Mother Mary beside them, is at the heart of the transformation that the world needs today: real people caring for and loving one another through joy and suffering.
✠ Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Praying for a New Bishop
Since the resignation of Most Reverend Robert Bourgon as first bishop of Hearst-Moosonee on November 29, 2020, I have been serving as Apostolic Administrator until the appointment of a new bishop. My task is to prepare the ground for the arrival of the new Diocesan Bishop who can assume office. The absence in Canada for eight months of a Papal Nuncio who prepares the documentation for the pope to name a bishop delayed action on the appointment. Currently consultations are underway, and it is important to pray for a happy outcome to the process.
In the Catholic Church, the diocesan bishop is the chief teacher, sanctifier, and shepherd of God’s people. Except for auxiliary bishops, who assist bishops of large dioceses or archdioceses, most bishops receive a diocese to govern spiritually. They make sure the priests, deacons, pastoral workers, and catechists in their diocese are preaching the Gospel and teaching sound doctrine to the flock. The bishop is the principal teacher in the diocese.
The bishop is also the primary dispenser of all the sacraments; so, he has oversight of the liturgy. Since the bishop possesses the fullness of Holy Orders, Christ’s grace flows through him in sacramental form, to the sanctification of the faithful. A bishop’s key duties include presiding at the Eucharist with his priests and all the faithful carrying out their respective roles. The bishop is the ordinary minister of confirmation, and it is he who ordains deacons, priests, and occasionally other bishops.
Through his relationships with the priests of his diocese, the bishop shepherds and governs the people of his diocese. Bishops have been given a special outpouring of grace to continue the work that the Apostles started.
The mission of a bishop cannot be understood as one of efficiency and effectiveness centred primarily on what must be done. It is more important to focus on who he is: a disciple of Jesus invested with Christ’s authority. At the close of his ordination or installation, the bishop sits on the “cathedra” — the bishop’s chair in the cathedral — where he is “above” and “in front of” the community because he is “for” that community towards which his pastoral solicitude is directed.
At an episcopal consecration, the ordaining bishop says, “Take this ring, the seal of your fidelity. With integrity of faith and purity of life protect the bride of God, his holy church.” The concept of “protecting” does not mean only conserving what has already been established; it also includes the dynamic aspect of adapting to the new requirements that arise with the development and progress of that living organism which is the community.
The bishop has responsibility not only for the good of his diocese, but also for that of society. He needs to be strong and determined, just and serene to exercise wisely discernment about people, facts, and events as he fulfils his duty as father, brother, and friend along the Christian and human journey.
The bishop’s ministry is not only that of moderator or organizer of diocesan life. His task is not simply human, but one based on faith. It includes helping to create a climate of trust, acceptance, and affection as well as one of frankness, justice, and truth.
Let us pray for the one whom the Lord God is already preparing to be the second Bishop of Hearst-Moosonee.
✠ Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Living Lent in the Last Days of the Pandemic
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 2 and once again this year our practices are affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Still, on March 1, many of Ontario’s Covid restrictions will be lifted. So this will allow us to reconnect with our parish community. It will permit many to gather for Mass as well as for prayer services such as the Way of the Cross and Eucharistic adoration.
The Church invites us to experience again the traditional Lenten practices: reception of the ashes on our foreheads, fasting and abstinence, prayer and almsgiving.
Lent recalls Jesus’ forty days in the desert and we may feel we ourselves have been experiencing the desert for the past two years with a kind of purification. Even if some mask regulations and social distancing remain in place, we hope this year to find spiritual growth.
The usual practices can help us in this. We are urged to pray more, to fast on the right days and to give alms. Jesus mentions these things in the gospel read on Ash Wednesday (Matthew 6.1-6, 16-18). He says we should do these religious duties not to attract attention to ourselves but for God’s eyes alone.
Fast and abstinence have been simplified. To fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday means eating only one full meal, while abstinence means not eating meat on those same days and on the other Fridays. When Jesus was with his disciples they did not fast. However, he foretold the day when the bridegroom would be “taken away”, a reference to his death on Good Friday. That is why we Catholics treat Friday as a day for sacrifice.
Everywhere in the Bible God calls his people to care for the poor and the needy. Jesus and the Church have always stressed this. Jesus promises that the heavenly Father will reward those who do so. So, by eating simpler meals on Friday we can save on food costs and these savings—along with other personal offerings—can be given to the those less fortunate than ourselves.
On Solidarity Sunday (April 3), I recommend that the monies we put aside as a result of our sacrifices in Lent be given to the collection for Catholic Missions in Canada, which assists enormously our own mission churches. Of course, all remain free to give to some other charity.
I encourage all members of the Church of Hearst-Moosonee to focus on making a personal sacrifice on each Friday and engaging in a joyful celebration of each Sunday, a “little Easter”. This will deepen our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—what is called the Paschal Mystery—and strengthen our relationship with our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Jesus continues to reach out towards us in Lent, seeking to win our hearts, all the way to the Last Supper, to the piercing of his heart on the Cross, to his appearances after the Resurrection. God loves us, he makes us see and experience his love.
Let us pray for one another that we may all experience a truly blessed Lent!
✠ Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Family Day: The Beauty and Joy of Love in the Family
Monday, February 21 is Family Day in Ontario and several other provinces. Family Day is a time set aside to focus on getting closer to loved ones. It was scheduled to fall between New Year’s Day and Good Friday in order to grant another day off between these celebrations.
In Ontario, the government established Family Day in order to give hard-working individuals more time with their loved ones. It can be a wonderful bonding time. This observance also fits well with the Church’s efforts to strengthen family life.
On March 19, 2021, Pope Francis launched the “Year of the Amoris Laetita Family” to mark the fifth anniversary of his Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” (On the Beauty and Joy of Love in the Family).
This special anniversary year will close on June 26, 2022 with the 10th World Meeting of Families in Rome on the theme “Family Love: A Vocation and a Path to Holiness”. Closer to that date, we will plan our particular celebration in the diocese.
Family life is a mixture of joy and love even amid setbacks and disappointments. Our icon painter, Gisele Bauche tries to capture this mingling of sadness that can turn to joy as we see in Jesus’ miracle of turning water into wine at the Wedding Feast of Cana.
Their wedding day had become a moment of shame for both bride and groom when the wine ran out. But Jesus and Mary were there. At Mary’s request Jesus turned the couple’s shame to honour as we learn when the steward of the feast commended them for saving the best wine to the last.
With Mary and Jesus present to us in our family lives, we are able to weather all the difficulties that come our way. We have only to heed our Blessed Mother Mary’s advice, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2.5)
Here is a link to resources that the Canadian Bishops have prepared to help us strengthen family life: https://www.cccb.ca/faith-moral-issues/family-and-life/celebrating-the-amoris-laetitia-family-year/.
Getting Ready for Lent
Traditionally, in the days before Lent begins — this year Ash Wednesday falls on March 2 — the Church encourages the faithful to consider how they wish to grow spiritually in the forty days leading to Easter. Our purpose is to practice fasting, prayer and almsgiving to renew our union with Christ in the paschal mystery (his passion, death and resurrection).
We have all had a lot of struggles in the past two years with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and all that took place as a result. People have lost employment and their savings. Families and individuals have suffered isolation and loneliness, such as not being able to grieve the loss of loved ones as they wished. As well, people have not been able to attend Mass or receive Holy Communion as they would have wished or to suitably celebrate Marriage, First Holy Communion or Confirmation.
So the Church wisely invites us to see in our daily struggles the best penance. In an Apostolic Exhortation, Pope St. Paul VI insisted “first of all that the virtue of penitence be exercised in persevering faithfulness to the duties of one’s state in life, in the acceptance of the difficulties arising from one’s work and from human coexistence, in a patient bearing of the trials of earthly life and of the utter insecurity which pervades it”, such as we have experienced in this pandemic.
“As well, those members of the Church who are stricken by infirmities, illnesses, poverty or misfortunes, or who are persecuted for the love of justice, are invited to unite their sorrows to the suffering of Christ … to obtain for their brothers and sisters a life of grace” (Paul VI, Paenitimini, 1966, III.A-B).
Next week, in my Letter for Lent 2022 I will suggest how we still need to commit to fasting, prayer and almsgiving.
✠ Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Commitment of the Canadian Catholic Bishops to Reconciliation 2/2
On January 28, the Catholic Bishops of Canada followed through on their commitment to support reconciliation efforts with Canada’s Aboriginal peoples by announcing the establishment of a $30 million fund management team and applications. Here are some excerpts.
Why are you only promising $30 million over five years?
We recognize that there is no single step that can eliminate the pain and suffering felt by residential school survivors. The Indigenous Reconciliation Fund is a tangible expression of the Bishops’ commitment to walk with Indigenous peoples along the long journey towards healing and reconciliation. By creating a time-limited fund, we hope to achieve a sense of urgency from Catholic entities and their faithful communities, as well as accountability to Indigenous partners and the general public.
How much has each diocese committed to fundraise?
Seventy-three dioceses across Canada have made concrete commitments to help fulfill the $30 million financial commitment over five years. (NB: Our Diocese of Hearst-Moosonee commits to raising $14,000 per year for five years for a total of $70,000). We recognize that exact amount fundraised by each diocese may vary from these initial commitments. With that in mind, under our proposed framework, the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund will transparently report on the fund’s finances on an annual basis, and be subject to an audit by an independent accounting firm each year.
Doesn’t the Church have enough money to fulfill this commitment? Why are you asking Catholics to donate?
The Catholic Church in Canada consists of thousands of independent entities, each with their own financial circumstances. It is up to individual dioceses to determine how best to meet their financial commitments. Having said that, we have heard loudly from Catholics across Canada who wish to participate in the healing and reconciliation journey.
By launching a grassroots-led campaign where local dioceses and their faithful can raise funds and provide meaningful input on disbursement plans, we believe that we can engage Catholics in a new way around this critically important priority.
Minister Miller has suggested that the Government should not have settled with the Church, do you agree?
An external review from McDougall Gauley LLP confirms that Catholic entities met their legal obligations under the IRSSA. Specifically, Catholic entities fully paid their cash payment contributions and exceeded their commitment to in-kind services as part of the agreement. On top of these settlement commitments, the Catholic entities agreed to a “best efforts” fundraising campaign, similar to that of a hospital or charitable foundation. While the campaign was enthusiastically championed, it did not meet the $25 million goal put forward.
As Catholics, we are disappointed by the end result of this campaign and believe that the valuable lessons learned will help support the Canadian Bishops and all Catholics in Canada as they seek to deliver on their national fundraising pledge.
What lessons have you learned from the failed “Moving Forward Together” campaign?
We have drawn lessons from this effort. Thus, the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund will:
- Have financial measures in place to ensure transparency and good governance;
- Be comprised of Indigenous and Catholic members;
- Fund projects identified by local committees comprising of Indigenous and Catholic membership;
- Ensure any administrative costs are on top of the $30 million being raised; and
- Provide regular public updates.
For the complete text, visit www.cccb.ca
Commitment of the Canadian Catholic Bishops to Reconciliation 1/2
On January 28, the Catholic Bishops of Canada followed through on their commitment to support reconciliation efforts with Canada’s Aboriginal peoples by announcing the establishment of a $30 million fund management team and applications. Here are some excerpts.
Canada’s Bishops are fully committed to meeting the joint $30 million financial commitment over five years. The CCCB has received firm commitments from 73 dioceses who will help reach this target. Under the planned framework, the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund will publish annual reports and be subject to an independent accounting firm each year, to ensure full transparency and accountability.
We know that this work comes with several questions about past fundraising efforts from Catholic entities, as well as the Church’s response to the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement (“IRSSA”). While the CCCB was not party to the agreement, we have consulted with Catholic entities and Indigenous partners, and reviewed records that shed light on this chapter of Canadian history.
Who will be managing the fund?
The Indigenous Reconciliation Fund will be managed with financial measures in place to ensure transparency and good governance. Board directors and members of the corporation will collectively bring a strong financial acumen and deep commitment to the healing and reconciliation journey.
The directors of the Board include:
- Chief Wilton Littlechild, Ph.D, a Cree chief, residential school survivor, and lawyer who served as a Commissioner for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Chief Littlechild has been a Member of Parliament, Vice-President of the Indigenous Parliament of the Americas, North American Representative to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and a Chairperson for the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Commission on First Nations and Métis Peoples and Justice Reform.
- Giselle Marion, who holds a law degree from the University of British Columbia and was called to the Bar in the Northwest Territories in 2008. During her articles Ms. Marion worked for the Department of Justice. She is a Tłıchq Citizen and was born and raised in Behchok, NT. She is the Director of Client Services with the Tłıchq Government out of the Behchoko office.
- Rosella Kinoshameg, an Odawa/Ojibway woman from the Wikwemikong Unceded First Nation Territory. She is a Registered Nurse with over 50 years of nursing experience, mostly working with First Nations communities doing community health, maternal child health, immunizations, home and community Care. She was one of the original members of the CCCB’s Indigenous Council and continues to serve as a member of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle.
The members of the corporation include:
- Natale Gallo, a former Supreme Director of the Knights of Columbus, where he represented Canada on the International Board of Directors.
- Claude Bédard, National President of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in Canada.
- Barbara Dowding, former National President of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada.
Why should Indigenous peoples believe you will follow through on this commitment?
Canada’s Catholic Bishops recognize and share the immense disappointment that past fundraising efforts did not live up to the responsibility to meaningfully address the Catholic Church’s role in Canada’s Indian Residential School System. We recognize that there is no single step that can eliminate the pain and suffering felt by residential school survivors, but by listening, seeking relationships, and working collaboratively, we hope to learn how to walk together on the long journey to healing and reconciliation.
The new Indigenous Reconciliation Fund will be transparent and accountable in supporting the healing and reconciliation initiatives that our Indigenous partners value.
…to be continued…
Two Particular Celebration in February
The month of February features two recurring church celebrations: the World Day for Consecrated Life, held on February 2 and the World Day of the Sick, observed on February 11.
World Day for Consecrated Life
In 1997, Pope Saint John Paul II instituted a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life, attached to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
This Feast is also known as Candlemas Day; the day on which candles are blessed symbolizing Christ who is the light of the world. So too, those in consecrated life are called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to all peoples.
The aim of this day is to get to know and appreciate consecrated life better. “In contemplating the gift of consecrated life, the Church contemplates her deepest vocation, that of belonging only to her Lord,” said John Paul II.
Consecrated life has as its mission to keep alive in the Church the historical form of life assumed by the Son of God when he came to this earth.
On this day consecrated persons come together to celebrate the marvels that the Lord has accomplished in them. They are invited to reflect on the gift they have received in their vocation.
There are several consecrated men serving in our diocese, priests who belong to a religious congregation; in the past Jesuit and Oblate brothers and priests, of the missions étrangères, of the Sacred Heart, Clercs de Saint-Viateur, father of Ste-Croix, Redemptorists, Holy Ghosts fathers, Heralds of the Good News, Society of Missions of Africa, Society of Mary Mother of Mercy, Carmelites served our parishes and missions. One religious woman who lives in Ottawa remains associated with our diocese. In the past we knew congregations such as the Sisters of Charity, Sisters of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin and the Sisters of Sainte-Marie-de-Namur, the Sisters of Saint Joseph from both Toronto and Hamilton, the sisters of the Sacré-Cœur, the Oblates sisters of Mary Immaculate, the School Sisters of Notre-Dame, the sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame, the sisters of the Providence who served as teachers, nurses and pastoral agents.
We pray that God may raise up among us consecrated women and men who will remind us by their dedication how important it is to give to the Lord the whole of our life to draw people to God’s Kingdom.
World Day of the Sick
Thirty years ago, Saint John Paul II instituted the World Day of the Sick to encourage the people of God, Catholic health institutions and civil society to be increasingly attentive to the sick and to those who care for them. We can see the importance of the Church’s focus on those who are ill and those who care for them as the world wide corona virus pandemic enters its third year.
Each year a shrine that cares for the sick is featured, this year it was to have been in Arequipa, Peru but the contagious omicron variant has led to cancellation of festivities there.
Regularly, the Holy Father writes a message for the occasion. This year’s theme is: Standing beside Those Who Suffer on a Path of Charity, a fulfilment of Jesus’ invitation to “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6.36).
Jesus’ invitation, writes the Pope, has particular significance for healthcare workers: “I think of all those physicians, nurses, laboratory technicians, the support staff and the caretakers of the sick, as well as the numerous volunteers who donate their precious time to assist those who suffer”. These are people who have made their service a mission, because, the Holy Father continues, “your hands, which touch the suffering flesh of Christ, can be a sign of the merciful hands of the Father”.
Let us entrust the sick and those who care for them to the intercession of Mary under her title, Health of the Infirm. United with Christ, who bears the pain of the world, may the sick find meaning, consolation and trust. May healthcare workers everywhere offer patients, together with suitable care, their fraternal closeness.
✠ Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Sunday of the Word of God
In his Apostolic Letter of September 30, 2019, Aperuit illis (“He opened to them”, Luke 24.33, Pope Francis designated the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time as the Sunday of the Word of God, a day devoted to the celebration, study, and spreading of the Word of God.
Pope Francis is clear from the very first paragraph of this letter that the relationship between the Risen Lord, a community of believers, and sacred Scripture is essential to who we are as Christians.
This is Year C, dedicated principally to readings from the Gospel of Luke. Here are some thoughts about this gospel that stresses the joy of the gospel, the role of the Holy Spirit, God’s special love for the poor, the dignity of women and what it costs us to follow Jesus—everything!
More than the other evangelists, Luke stresses the “world-affirming” dimension of Jesus’ ministry; he locates Jesus not only within the salvation history of God’s chosen people but within the history of the whole human race. Thus, Luke refers both to the leaders of Israel and to figures like the Caesars (Augustus and Tiberius) who played key roles on the world’s stage where Jesus of Nazareth belongs.
Luke’s gospel highlights God’s designs as the reversal of human values and expectations.
God demonstrated a preferential love for the poor, the afflicted and the outcast as the starting point for summoning all humanity to salvation.
Luke underlines the importance of faith and of prayer, giving prominence to the Holy Spirit’s role in the life of Jesus and his disciples. The theme of Jesus at prayer will recur regularly in the Sunday readings particularly Jesus’ prayer before choosing his apostles, at the Transfiguration, in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the Cross.
Luke shows us that conversion implies a change in one’s behaviour and accentuates the presence and contribution of women among Jesus’ disciples.
Above all, Luke emphasizes the orderly transition from the ministry of Jesus to the mission of the Twelve Apostles. In the Acts of the Apostles, his other writing, Luke shows that God blessed the transition from early church patterns in the apostolic era to later structures governed by elders appointed in apostolic succession.
Though many of the early church’s struggles might appear to have been chaotic, the development of the Church came about following a divinely ordained plan so that people’s faith might be firmly grounded Luke 1.1-4. This should encourage us regarding the Church in our own day, especially as we await the appointment of a new Bishop in our diocese.
During this liturgical year, we will see how Luke explores dimensions in the disciples’ experiences with Jesus that get below surface appearances. One example is Peter’s sense of unworthiness at his call Luke 5.1-11. Another is a forgiven woman’s love overflowing into tears that bathed the feet of Jesus 7.36-50. Others still are a cleansed leper’s joy that had to say “thank you” 17.11-19 and the recollection by the Emmaus disciples that their hearts burned within them as Jesus opened the meaning of the scriptures to them 24.13-35.
Luke’s theological view of Jesus is that he is God’s messiah, God’s Son carried up into the new world with God in heaven (beginning at 9.51). And from the new world of his ascension and with God, Jesus now guides the church he left his apostles and their successors to manage until he comes again in glory.
Each year we have an opportunity to discover God’s Word as something fresh and new. Let us rejoice that in Year C we will do so guided by Luke the evangelist who proclaims God’s mercy to the poor and needy, including ourselves.
✠ Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Rev. Jean-Marc Pelletier
Birth • May 11, 1931 • Cabano, QC | Ordination • June 15, 1958 • Rimouski, ON | Death • January 9, 2022 • Hearst, ON
Father Jean-Marc Pelletier was born in Cabano, QC, on May 11, 1931, son of Alfred Pelletier and Yvonne Ouellet. He grew up in Matane, QC. He did his primary studies in his parish. For his secondary studies, he enrolled in the Juniorate of the Oblate Fathers in Chambly, QC. After his juniorate, he continued his studies with the Oblate Fathers, doing three years of philosophy at the Oblate Fathers’ St. Joseph Scholasticate in Ottawa. When it was time for his theology, he enrolled at the Grand Séminaire de Québec, from 1954 to 1958, and was ordained to the priesthood on June 15, 1958, by Most Reverend Charles-Eugène Parent, Archbishop of Rimouski, in the chapel of the Petit Séminaire de Rimouski.
He arrived in Hearst in August 1958. He was immediately appointed vice-chancellor of the diocese. That summer, four priests arrived from Rimouski at the same time, to bring reinforcements to the Hearst diocese, at the request of Bishop Louis Levesque of Hearst Rev. Jean-Guy Mailloux, Jean-Roch Pelletier, Marcel Latulipe and Jean-Marc Pelletier. Jean-Marc’s three confreres were immediately posted to Hearst College to teach. Jean-Marc, however, was directed to the ministry.
After two years as vice-chancellor, he was, in turn and over the years, responsible for the following parishes: Norembéga, Jogues, Coppell, Gogama and Val Rita-Harty. In 1970-71 he spent a year studying at the Institut de Pastorale in Montreal. Upon his return he continued his parish ministry in Foleyet, Sultan and Chapleau. He was parish priest in Hornepayne for a few years before being appointed chaplain of the Notre-Dame Hospital in Hearst. He retired from this position in 1994 and was admitted to the Foyer des Pionniers in Hearst, where he died on January 9, 2022.
A funeral service was scheduled for Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at 11am, at the Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Cathedral in Hearst, presided by Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, Apostolic Administrator. Cremation to follow. He will buried in the family plot in the Rimouski cemetery.
Rev. Gilles Gosselin & Rev. René Grandmont
Jesus’ Baptism and Ours
Recently, a couple recounted how when there was no priest in their village, they “baptized” their newborn son who had had a difficult birth by marking his brow with oil and praying to the Trinity. They said the priest, when he came, “re-baptized” the baby.
This led us into a discussion about how to baptize someone. One needs to pour water over the head of the person and say, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. In danger of death anyone—even an unbeliever—can baptize as long as water is poured (even if only a few drops) and the proper words are said. Later, the deacon or priest can come and complete the ceremony, though the Baptism truly took place earlier.
Water symbolizes cleansing and new life, which was already expressed in the baptism of repentance performed by John the Baptist. The Baptism that is administered with water “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” is more than a sign of conversion and repentance; it is new life in Christ. That is why the ceremony also includes the signs of anointing, the white garment, and the baptismal candle.
The proper words are important. Early in the pandemic a priest watched a video tape of his Baptism. The priest was horrified, for the minister had used a modified formula, “We baptize you …” and he realized he had not received the Sacrament of Baptism or any other sacraments in his faith journey.
According to the Vatican the modified formula had invalidated the Baptism. The priest contacted his Bishop and he soon received his proper Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Eucharist and Ordination.
What the “I” means in the Baptism formula is that the person who is baptizing is acting in the place of Christ. The Church’s ruling stressed that Christ is the primary actor in all the sacraments. It’s Christ who forgives sins. It’s Christ who baptizes. The minister of Baptism is not acting on behalf of only himself or the local community, but as “the sign-presence of Christ.”
In this Sunday’s Gospel St. Luke tells us that when “all the people were being baptized,” Jesus also had been baptized (Luke 3.21). This shows the openness of the people to God’s call, the need for them to come closer to God in the hope of his forgiveness.
Still, Jesus did not need to be forgiven. As the Son of God made flesh (John 1.14), he had always done his Father’s will from birth. Many passages in the New Testament attest to this. Paul writes to the Corinthians that Jesus is “the one who knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5.21). Peter states that Christ “committed no sin; in his mouth was not found any lie” (1 Peter 2.22). Yet in coming to John, Jesus showed solidarity with all people who are touched by sin.
Baptism is the foundational sacrament and the prerequisite for all other sacraments. It unites us with the sinless one, Jesus Christ and incorporates us into his redemptive death on the Cross, freeing us from the power of Original Sin and all personal sins, and causes us to rise with him to a life without end.
Since Baptism is a covenant with God, the individual must say “Yes” to it. From antiquity the Church has practiced infant Baptism. In the Baptism of children, the parents confess the Faith on behalf of the children.
There is one reason for this: before we decide on God, God has decided on us. Baptism is therefore a grace, an undeserved gift of God, who accepts us unconditionally. Believing parents who want what is best for their child want Baptism also, in which the child is freed from the influence of original sin and the power of death.
As we recall Jesus’ Baptism, we invite the Holy Spirit to renew in us the graces of our own Baptism. Then we can proclaim the Gospel with Christ, spreading the joy that comes from God.
✠ Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Pope Francis’ Message for the World Day of Peace
Developing the theme “Dialogue between generations, education and work: tools for building lasting peace”, Pope Francis proposes three paths for building a lasting peace.
In a world still gripped by the pandemic that has created untold problems, “some people attempt to flee from reality, taking refuge in their own little world; others react to it with destructive violence. Yet between selfish indifference and violent protest there is always another possible option: that of dialogue. Dialogue between generations”.
All honest dialogue, in addition to a correct and positive exchange of views, demands basic trust between the participants. We need to learn how to regain this mutual trust. The current health crisis has increased our sense of isolation and a tendency to self-absorption. The loneliness of the elderly is matched in the young by a sense of helplessness and a lack of a shared vision about the future. The crisis has indeed been painful, but it has also helped to bring out the best in people. Indeed, during the pandemic we encountered generous examples of compassion, sharing and solidarity in every part of the world.
Dialogue entails listening to one another, sharing different views, coming to agreement and walking together. Promoting such dialogue between generations involves breaking up the hard and barren soil of conflict and indifference in order to sow the seeds of a lasting and shared peace.
- Instruction & Education
In recent years, there has been a significant reduction worldwide in funding for education and training; these have been seen more as expenditures than investments. Yet they are the primary means of promoting integral human development; they make individuals more free and responsible, and they are essential for the defence and promotion of peace. In a word, teaching and education are the foundations of a cohesive civil society capable of generating hope, prosperity and progress.
Military expenditures, on the other hand, have increased beyond the levels at the end of the Cold War and they seem certain to grow exorbitantly.
It is high time, then, that governments develop economic policies aimed at inverting the proportion of public funds spent on education and on weaponry. The pursuit of a genuine process of international disarmament can only prove beneficial for the development of peoples and nations, freeing up financial resources better used for health care, schools, infrastructure, care of the land and so forth.
Labour is an indispensable factor in building and keeping peace. It is an expression of ourselves and our gifts, but also of our commitment, self-investment and cooperation with others, since we always work with or for someone. Seen in this clearly social perspective, the workplace enables us to learn to make our contribution towards a more habitable and beautiful world.
Labour, in fact, is the foundation on which to build justice and solidarity in every community. For this reason, our aim should not be “that technological progress increasingly replace human work, for this would be detrimental to humanity. Work is a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to growth, human development and personal fulfilment”. We need to combine our ideas and efforts in order to create the solutions and conditions that can provide everyone of working age with the opportunity, through their work, to contribute to the lives of their families and of society as a whole.
It is more urgent than ever to promote, throughout our world, decent and dignified working conditions, oriented to the common good and to the safeguarding of creation. The freedom of entrepreneurial initiatives needs to be ensured and supported; at the same time, efforts must be made to encourage a renewed sense of social responsibility, so that profit will not be the sole guiding criterion.
Source: Messaggio del Santo Padre Francesco per la 55.ma Giornata Mondiale della Pace (1° gennaio 2022) (vatican.va)
Apostolic Administrator’s Christmas Letter 2021
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
Christmas is the celebration of God’s great act of love when his Son took flesh and was born in time to save humanity, to save us.
The past twenty months of the Covid pandemic have been hard going for us. There are many conflicts about vaccination, travel, isolation, and reduced chances to worship God, particularly at Mass and Holy Communion.
So, this year our thoughts of Christmas bring to mind the truth that the Son of God continues to be present among us during the celebration of Mass. Hence, the importance for us of Sunday Mass, our weekly opportunity to hear God’s holy Word and to be fed with the Bread of Life! To bring our lives into contact with Christ’s for his healing, support and challenge! We pray for relief from restrictions so this can become again part of our life of faith.
Jesus Emmanuel — God with us — shared every aspect of our humanity: experiencing cold, hunger and thirst, the need for shelter and a loving family.
Christ was born in David’s royal city, Bethlehem a name that means “house of bread.” Wrapped in a newborn’s swaddling clothes, he was placed in a manger, the place where animals feed.
Saints and mystics have seen in Bethlehem and the manger foreshadowings of Christ’s future gift of himself as food for our spiritual lives and his desire for intimate communion with us.
Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, to save each of us, to save me.
Spiritual writers say God would have done this if I were the only one to be saved. It’s a way of saying that the Christ Child came into the world, “loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2.20). Christ gave himself up to death on the cross so that I might live a totally new life!
I invite you during this Diocesan Year of the Eucharist to contemplate Jesus’ abiding love in the gift of himself under the appearance of bread, adoring him in the sacrament reserved in the tabernacle and letting this transforming love of his take root
in your life.
Preparing ourselves to receive Jesus’s Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity requires, first and foremost, intense and faithful prayer. Making space for him in our hearts calls for a serious commitment to convert ourselves to his love.
When we do so, we receive the peace of God that passes all understanding. This peace is the gift we need to implore with prayerful trust; it is the project that we are called to make our own.
God’s care for each one of us, dear friends, is what the Christmas story is all about. Christmas heralds the coming of our Saviour Jesus, God’s own Son, to share our life and to offer “peace on earth”. My prayer is that the peace and joy of Christmas may be yours today and throughout the New Year.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
✠ Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Apostolic Administrator of
The Christmas Crib: Jesus is Born for Us, for Me!
The nativity scene or Christmas crib is a popular family devotion. Some crèches have special meaning for families having been passed on from earlier generations.
A favourite event in my family was setting up the crib a few days before Christmas. Each day, a different child rearranged the crib according to their own ideas. We got involved in the mystery of God being born in a cave in Bethlehem, adored by angels and shepherds.
We liked to move the figures of the three Magi (or wise men) across the living room; day by day they moved a bit closer to the crib containing Christ!
The enchanting image of the Christmas crib, so dear to Catholics, never ceases to arouse amazement and wonder. The depiction of Jesus’ birth is itself a simple and joyful proclamation of the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God.
The nativity scene is like a living Gospel rising up from the pages of sacred Scripture. As we look at the crib and consider the Christmas story, we are invited to set out on a spiritual journey, drawn by the humility of the God who became man in order to encounter every man and woman. We come to realize that so great is God’s love for us that he became one of us, so that we in turn might become one with him.
The origin of the Christmas crèche is found in certain details of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, as related in the Gospels. The evangelist Luke says simply that Mary “gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” (Luke 2.7).
Coming into this world, the Son of God was laid in the place where animals feed. Hay became the first bed of the One who would reveal himself as “the bread come down from heaven” (John 6.41).
Saint Augustine was impressed by this symbolism: “Laid in a manger, he became our food” (Sermon 189, 4). Yes, the nativity scene evokes a number of the mysteries of Jesus’ life and brings them close to our own daily lives.
To understand the origins of the Christmas crèche we need to go back to a little Italian town where Saint Francis of Assisi stopped in 1223. He had visited the Holy Land, and the caves in Greccio reminded him of the countryside of Bethlehem. Or, the “Poor Man of Assisi” may have been struck by the mosaics in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major which depict the birth of Jesus and are close to the place where, according to tradition, the wooden panels of the manger are preserved.
Francis asked for help “to bring to life the memory of that babe born in Bethlehem, to see as much as possible with my own bodily eyes the discomfort of his infant needs, how he lay in a manger, and how, with an ox and an ass standing by, he was laid upon a bed of hay”.
On Christmas Eve people from the area brought flowers and torches to light up that holy night. All experienced a new and indescribable joy in the presence of the Christmas scene. The priest celebrated Mass over the manger, showing the bond between the Incarnation of the Son of God and the Eucharist.
At Greccio there were no statues; the nativity scene was acted out and experienced by all present. This is how our tradition began: with everyone gathered in joy around the cave, with no distance between the original event and those sharing in its mystery.
Thus, the crib reminds us of the miracle of Christmas: that God so loved the world that he sent us his only Son (John 3.16), like us in every way but sin, to bring us back into the intimacy of God’s loving embrace.
✠ Terrence Prendergast, SJ
Travel “up the Coast” of James Bay and Hudson’s Bay
Covid-19 has restricted a great deal of travel. In my case it kept me as Bishop from visiting my flock, the Catholic Christians who live in isolated indigenous communities on the west side of James Bay. As restrictions were lifted, recently I was able to fly to Fort Albany, Attawapiskat and Peawanuck, beginning from Moosonee and Moose Factory as my base.
Father David Reilander, President of Catholic Missions in Canada (CMIC), our principal funding agency accompanied me to all except the small village of Peawanuck near Hudson’s Bay. With his wide experience as a pastor, including a stint as a missionary in the Yukon, Father Reilander was able to offer suggestions for the diverse challenges in each locale. He offered advice regarding the damage caused to the rectory and church in Fort Albany by a water heater breakdown and flooding (no hot water during our stay) or by examining structural issues in Moosonee’s Christ the King which need to be addressed promptly to forestall greater costs later.
The Church, however, is not principally buildings but communities that worship in them. And each community faces unique as well as common concerns (such as pandemic worship limits).
Our first stop was Fort Albany, site of St. Anne’s Residential School, which was a harsh environment for indigenous children, mainly Cree, who suffered loss of their language, culture and access to parents and grandparents, key persons in introducing youngsters to attachment to the land and traditional ways: trapping, hunting, fishing, the understanding of herbs and plants for nutrition and healing. Troubling memories by survivors were never far from the surface in our conversations. We visited the band office, the school and were joined for Mass by several Elders.
The community of Attawapiskat still grieves the loss of its church in a fire that destroyed stained glass windows that depicted traditional indigenous images. Parish members attended an open session where they could share their frustrations at their loss and hopes for a speedy rebuild of the church in its classical style. One Elder made an impassioned plea for a committee to work immediately at restoring the central place of the church. Mass followed and then a reception in the parish hall. As the pastor was away for his father’s funeral that very day we prayed for the consolation of his family with our other intentions.
Moose Factory is separated from Moosonee by the Moose River; crossing it is by boat or the winter road, but these days and in the spring “break up” only by helicopter. I presided at an anticipated Lord’s Day Mass in Moose Factory; the next Saturday, Father Reilander and I made aerial passes over both towns by helicopter.
Moosonee’s Church of Christ the King was a cathedral in the past; I presided on their feast day. The next Sunday, Father Reilander spoke about the work of CMIC in light of efforts at reconciliation in Canada and we prayed for the delegation of indigenous leaders who will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican before Christmas.
Rounding out the tour, I flew to Peawanuck, which this year marks the 35th anniversary of a devastating flood that forced residents of this First Nation to flee the Town of Winisk for higher ground 35 kilometers inland. They are pleased that a priest is resident among them and that he is learning their Cree language.
This Sunday, December 12th is traditionally the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and observed in Canada as the National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples. When Mary appeared as an indigenous woman 490 years ago in 1531, this led to millions of Native People becoming Catholic Christians. Let us then confidently entrust to her maternal intercession the Cree and Ojibway Christians of our diocese and our efforts at reconciliation.
✠ Terrence Prendergast, SJ
A Partial Update about the Synod on Synodality in the Diocese
Pope Francis has asked that all of Catholics reflect on the concept of “synodality” in all the dioceses of the world in order to bring about an updating of the whole Church in conformity with directives of the Second Vatican Council. It is precisely by reflecting on what we can do together, walking together in communion and engaging in active and conscious participation in the activities of the Church and in the Church, so that we can better reflect the authentic face of Christ to our world today.
Indeed, the first step in this process was to formulate three major questions reflecting and encompassing the realities of the Church in Hearst-Moosonee and to send them to all parishes in the diocese on October 7, 2021, for distribution to all the faithful for engagement with them and their responses.
The second step in the synodal process was the official launch at the diocesan level of the Synod on Synodality by Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, our Apostolic Administrator on October 31, 2021 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon. During this session, there were fraternal exchanges on many problems and questions related to synodality, the need to update the Catholic Church. We closed out the session with the celebration of a bilingual mass presided by Archbishop Terrence on this occasion in the presence of the delegates of the parishes.
At the same session, we proceeded to collect the answers to the three questions that were put to the whole body of Catholic Christians in the diocese.
Here we will give but a partial update on this synodal process because the answers to the questions are still coming in.
Following the questions asked, several responses have already begun to show a pattern, after the partial analysis that has taken place:
¨ Strengthening the parish pastoral council and the council for economic affairs.
¨ The permanent formation of parishioners in the Word of God in a linear and continuous way (starting with the New Testament and ending with the Old Testament).
¨ Making celebrations lively and participatory.
¨ In the parishes, the recruitment of volunteers must be followed up by training and establishing cohesion among volunteers who are called to work together to mitigate and dissipate internal disputes and unnecessary contradictions.
¨ Our priests need to be dynamic, enthusiastic, resourceful, innovative and welcoming.
¨ Priests need to re-explain the spiritual meaning and Christian value of the seven sacraments (Baptism, Forgiveness, Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, Ordination of Priests and the Anointing of the Sick).
¨ Reduce the length of homilies. Also take time to re-explain the Ten Commandments.
¨ Priests should visit and comfort desperate and distressed families.
¨ Inform the faithful of what is happening in the diocese.
¨ Work together in the parishes and all the faithful should feel responsible for the life of their parish.
¨ To help the faithful to innovate in order to find new ways of being Church according to current needs and requirements.
¨ The future bishop should be a leader who brings people together, who forms them, who is a visionary for the future, who is reassuring and who shows both rigour and pastoral charity. He will have to develop a closeness to parishioners and be a good listener.
These are some of the responses that we found relevant among many others.
Beyond that, we will only be able to make a definitive synthesis of the synod when we receive all the responses from all the parishes.
Father Aimé Minkala
Pastor of the Cathedral and Diocesan Coordinator of the Synodal Process
Celebrating Advent in a Time of Pandemic
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Here is a question about Advent, the season preparing for Christmas that begins on November 28: Is it possible to spiritually prepare to celebrate Christmas in our time of stress due to Covid and in a consumeristic climate? In these days, can we create interior space to welcome the Christ-child? Or will our hearts and minds be overfull like the inn at Bethlehem in the original Nativity of our Lord?
The word “advent” has a Latin root meaning “coming”. The pre-Christmas season of Advent is a time of preparation to celebrate the first coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas: “the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth” (John 1.14).
We have some traditional practices to help prepare to celebrate this joyful feast which marks the reality that heaven came to earth that first Christmas.
In church at Mass on the Sundays in Advent, priests and deacons wear purple vestments for three out of the four Sundays. There are also three purple candles in a traditional Advent wreath that decorate the sanctuary of the parish church and many family tables.
Purple is a penitential colour, expressing sorrow and contrition. It is a long standing tradition for Catholics to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as Confession or the Sacrament of Penance) sometime in the weeks prior to Christmas.
Parishes often have an Advent Day of Recollection or Retreat to help parishioners prepare for Christmas. There are many print resources available for private use with a daily reading from the scriptures and a reflection that people use as part of their personal prayers to help them focus on the meaning of the season.
Some families use Advent prayer booklets at dinnertime containing a short prayer they can pray together as they light one of the candles of their Advent wreath.
Families with little children often purchase a daily Advent Calendar where the children can take turns opening a window each day revealing a picture, message or treat on the calendar.
The Christmas nativity scene or crèche, promoted by Saint Francis of Assisi hundreds of years ago, is a popular devotion. Some crèches have special meaning for families, having been passed on from earlier generations. One practice has the figures of the three Magi (or wise men) processing across the living room, each day moving a little closer to the stable and crib containing Christ!
These and other practices are ways of reminding us about the miracle of Christmas: that God so loved the world that he sent us his only Son, like us in every way but sin, to bring us back into the intimacy of God’s loving embrace.
It is possible to get caught up in the round of parties, decorating the house, buying the perfect present, sending cards (ecards, traditional ones or carefully posed family pictures), and the general busyness of the weeks before the 25th of December that we forget that for Christians “Jesus is the reason for the season”.
This Advent, let us adopt more attentively one or more of these traditional practices – a little focused prayer on the meaning of Christmas, a few moments each day spent with the crèche, an Advent wreath on the dinner table with four candles and a moment of prayer, penitential preparation ending with the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a special contribution to supporting the poor in our community or something else aimed an injecting a little space into our crowded lives so that the Christ-child may find a welcome in our hearts, lives and families.
✠Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
A New Translation of the Roman Missal in French on November 28
The publication of a new French translation of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal is part of a process that included our new translation into English in 2011.
Following the liturgical reform initiated by the Second Vatican Council, the Roman Missal has had three separate versions.
Each of these publications represented a major event in the history of the Church and a turning point in its way of celebrating the Eucharist. Always the aim was that of encouraging the full, conscious and active participation of every member of the assembly.
To be spiritually fruitful, this publication and the implementation of the Missal will need to be accompanied by a renewal of liturgical energy in the art of celebrating by the whole People of God.
Like our French-speaking fellow Catholics, we English-speaking Catholics are invited to discover the clarifications found in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM).
What is the underlying reason for these new translations of the Roman Missal? Pope Francis explains it (in Magnum Principium) as three expressions of fidelity: to the original text (in Latin), to the language into which it is translated and to our understanding of the text that is the basis of our prayerful worship.
The Bishops of Canada hope this translation will bring about a missionary conversion that will mark the French-speaking and bilingual parishes of our country. This can only take place if our worship fosters the participation of each of the baptized, the community as a whole and the community within its particular social context (for example, here in northeastern Ontario).
These new translations into French and English are expected to promote a fuller participation in the Mass by each person. Indeed, by improving the quality of the language used in the prayers and by better highlighting the richness of the liturgical tradition, the new translations will help each baptized person to better understand what they are living at the deepest level at Mass, namely the Paschal Mystery. A person cannot participate well in a mystery that he or she does not understand.
It is an expectation of our modern culture that what we say and do should make sense and not simply be a matter of conforming to tradition, customs or old ways of doing things. Thus, working on the clarity of a text (as the new translations do) is precious, because it opens up for us a treasury of prayer.
The participation by each baptized person at Mass is truly a gift, for it leads directly to a call from the Lord who sends us forth from Mass to share what we have experienced. A personal encounter with God always leads us to mission.
If we live out our celebrations more profoundly, we will be better able to continue to witness to our faith in our daily lives. In this way, we will be able to say that the parish community sends forth missionaries, namely each baptized person, into the world.
The practical implementation of the Missal in Canada remains somewhat cloudy. The anticipated training of those who participate at Mass with the resources necessary to make the French Missal better known have been affected by the pandemic. Happily, the newly-printed missals arrived in the Ottawa warehouse this week. While the French missalette Prions en Église will only begin to publish the new French translation in January, the National Liturgy Office has prepared a leaflet that will be available on Sunday, November 28 with a selection of the new prayers in French for use in Advent and at Christmas.
+Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
The Pension Fund for the Priest of the Diocese of Hearst-Moosonee
On November 21, there will be a Special Collection for the “Caisse de Compensation”—The Compensation Fund for Priests of the Hearst-Moosonee Diocese. The fund provides for priests who are retired or ill. It is seriously underfunded.
The mission of The Compensation Fund is to provide elderly and disabled diocesan priests with the necessary resources to lead a dignified life after many years of active ministry.
The retired diocesan clergy of the Diocese of Hearst-Moosonee have served our family of faith, bringing us the sacraments and enriching our parishes, homes, schools, hospitals and countless other gatherings through their ministry. Our support of them is a reflection of the gratitude and appreciation of faithful parishioners.
Priests who are retired or ill receive $600 per month which, with their Canada Pension and other savings, allows them to live modestly. With your financial contribution, we would be able to offer them an increase in monthly support.
The Compensation Fund began more than fifty years ago in 1969 during the time of Bishop Jacques Landriault. It was in response to the Second Vatican Council’s expressed wish that bishops set up a pension fund for priests.
The manner of funding The Compensation Fund has changed over the years. Initially, priests were assessed a portion of their monthly revenue. The percentage varied over the years from 5 percent to 20 percent and, for a time, up to 50 percent of salary.
Recently, The Compensation Fund has been forced to draw on its reserves to meet its monthly payment obligations. Like the population in general, priests today are living longer. This means we need to increase The Compensation Fund’s reserves to continue to support our retired clergy. This is a major challenge.
With the help of actuarial projections, it is hoped that a new formula for increasing The Compensation Fund will be devised. This year’s Special Collection next Sunday will help.
In 2021, The Compensation Fund assists eleven retired priests who have devoted themselves for many years to the service of the people of our diocese.
On November 21, all are invited to give generously to support the priests who have prayed, celebrated, cried and shared with us in both the joyful and sad moments of our lives.
World Youth Day
The Solemnity of Christ the King is now kept as « World Youth Day » and celebrated at the diocesan level. In his message for this year’s observance, Pope Francis asks young people to “testify joyfully that Christ is alive”.
This year’s theme is: “Arise! I make you a witness of what you have seen,” inspired by Jesus’ words to St. Paul recorded in Acts 26.16. Let’s pray that our youth will come, like Paul, to know Jesus intimately and then be able to proclaim the joy of their encounter with Christ to others.
✠ Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
The Poor you will Always have with You Mk 14:7
Thus opens Pope Francis’ message for the 5th World Day of the Poor, celebrated each year on the Sunday before the feast of Christ the King.
In quoting this text from Mark, Pope Francis gives his interpretation, which you can read at www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/poveri/documents/20210613-messaggio-v-giornatamondiale-poveri-2021.html
From his interpretation, the Pope invites us to a commitment because, he says, “Jesus not only sides with the poor; he also shares their lot. This is a powerful lesson for his disciples in every age.”
He continues “We need, then, wholeheartedly to follow the Lord’s invitation to “repent and believe in the Gospel” Mk 1:15. This conversion consists primarily in opening our hearts to recognizing the many different forms of poverty and manifesting the Kingdom of God through a lifestyle consistent with the faith we profess. Often the poor are viewed as persons apart, as a “category” in need of specific charitable services. Yet following Jesus entails changing this way of thinking and embracing the challenge of mutual sharing and involvement. Christian discipleship entails deciding not to accumulate earthly treasures, which give the illusion of a security that is actually fragile and fleeting. It requires a willingness to be set free from all that holds us back from achieving true happiness and bliss, in order to recognize what is lasting, what cannot be destroyed by anyone or anything cf. Mt 6:19-20.”
“Nonetheless, one question, which is by no means obvious, remains. How can we give a tangible response to the millions of the poor who frequently encounter only indifference, if not resentment? What path of justice must be followed so that social inequalities can be overcome and human dignity, so often trampled upon, can be restored?”
And this is the commitment he proposes: “For this reason, a different approach to poverty is required. This is a challenge that governments and world institutions need to take up with a farsighted social model capable of countering the new forms of poverty that are now sweeping the world and will decisively affect coming decades. If the poor are marginalized, as if they were to blame for their condition, then the very concept of democracy is jeopardized and every social policy will prove bankrupt. With great humility, we should confess that we are often incompetent when it comes to the poor. We talk about them in the abstract; we stop at statistics and we think we can move people’s hearts by filming a documentary. Poverty, on the contrary, should motivate us to creative planning, aimed at increasing the freedom needed to live a life of fulfilment according to the abilities of each person. It is an illusion, which we should reject, to think that freedom comes about and grows through the possession of money. Serving the poor effectively moves us into action and makes it possible to find the most suitable ways of raising and promoting this part of humanity that all too often is anonymous and voiceless, but which has imprinted on it the face of the Saviour who asks for our help.”
Remembering Our Dead in November
People have already begun to wear poppies. The red flower we sport on our lapels recalls Remembrance Day. November 11—the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month—commemorates the end of the First World War. In our towns that day, there will be cautious services at war memorials.
It is right that we honour our War dead and that we do so in a religious way. Even Canadian soldiers who would not describe themselves as religious, generally want a religious funeral service if they fall in battle. The prospect and possibility of imminent death—as we have experienced it with Covid-19—also spur us all to think of God and eternity.
Catholics in particular are encouraged in November to meditate on our inescapable last end and on Christ’s promise of eternal life. So this coming week we celebrate the solemnity of All Saints (November 1) for those who have made it to heaven and on the next day we pray Masses for All Souls (November 2) for those being purified before their arrival in Heaven.
Our Catholic custom of offering Masses for the Dead could be renewed as it has fallen out of practice for a number of reasons, perhaps lately because funerals were put off during the pandemic. Scripture tells us it is good and wholesome thing to pray for the dead.
Judas Maccabeus collected money to offer expiatory sacrifices for those slain in battle, showing his faith in the resurrection and the reality of a state in the afterlife where prayers of the living are efficacious for the dead (2 Maccabees 12.32-46). The Mass offerings we make encourage especially our retired priests to pray for the people they served. These stipends are especially helpful to priests who live on limited pensions.
Do we ever stop to imagine what heaven might be like? The title of the last book of the Bible “Apocalypse” means uncovering or unveiling the after-life. Some compare heaven to the escape from the womb at birth and into the light. In this life we see heaven only through the shadows, with a level of difficulty which varies at different periods.
Heaven is not a selfish place because our personal decisions for God bind us to others.
In one view the “eternal now” of heaven means happiness will come from contemplating the Lord’s face, from perpetual worship. This is the approach of St. Augustine.
The fourth century St. Gregory of Nyssa had a more dynamic view of heaven, which he saw as a constant stretching onwards and upwards towards a more perfect understanding of God. God’s Beauty is inexhaustible even as we desire to see more and more.
We need to switch channels and leave the good things of today to search for the Risen Jesus, the Word of God who is now in heaven with eyes like “flames of fire” (Revelation 19.12). He is the One who comforts his people and makes “all things new” (21.5).
✠ Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
The Synodal Path: Walking Together
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Two Sundays ago, Pope Francis, invited all Catholics to come with him “on a journey” as a “Synodal Church”. The word synod means “walking together”. It indicates how to be together as Church to discern the best way to spread the Gospel amid our life in the 21st century.
At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples, giving them guidance and courage to go out and spread the Good News about Jesus Christ to the nations of the world. Like those early Christians, we pray that the Holy Spirit will help us discern what God wants for the Church now.
I encourage you to answer Pope Francis’ call as we set out on a synodal journey in the Diocese of Hearst-Moosonee. We want to involve as many people as possible to gather the ideas and wisdom of all the baptized and listen to the “sense of the faith” alive in God’s People.
Pope Francis has chosen a theme for this process from 2021 to 2023: For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission. Catholics are spread around the world in different communities, large and small, but God unites us all as one. To develop greater “communion” is not to expect everyone to be the same, but to overcome divisions, walking forward together, sharing a common path.
Within our own diocese, stretching from Peawanuk near Hudson’s Bay to Chapleau and from Nakina to Cochrane, there is a wide variety of parishes and indigenous communities. We hope this synodal experience will bring us closer and help us recognize that we are united by our common baptism — as members of the Body of Christ.
Though the faith has been handed on for centuries in Ontario and Canada, we live in a challenging secular environment, where, sadly, many people do not know the joy of encouraging, believing in, and following, Jesus Christ. Some have lost their sense of being part of the Church and others, for various reasons, feel they no longer wish to be involved. It is important then that this synodal process be an inclusive one where we listen to others who have different perspectives. No one is excluded. All are invited and welcome to participate.
We pray for a greater sense of our shared mission to announce the Good News of Jesus Christ in faith, hope and love. How much the world today needs to encounter Christ and to understand how his Word gives us a reason for living, a reason for hoping!
You, the lay women and men of our diocese, have a vital role to play in this. Sometimes the work of spreading the Gospel and building the Kingdom of God is left to ordained priests and deacons. You, however, have a special mission in witnessing to the Gospel. As baptized members of the Church, as disciples of Jesus, you are called to act in the midst of humanity to bring the Kingdom of God to life in every facet of society.
In the Diocese of Hearst-Moosonee over the next few months, we will join the worldwide synodal consultation, seeking to understand how well we are “journeying together”, and how we might, in our parishes and diocese, “journey better together”. We will invite your responses to several questions. You can choose to answer these as individuals, as families, as members of your parish community or any other group. We hope to gather your responses via questionnaires, through “in person” group discussion and on social media. This first phase will lead to further chances for you to participate at the diocesan and national level.
All replies will be collated and sent in response to Pope Francis’ invitation. As he said himself: “Let us listen to one another”, for “Whenever we enter into dialogue, we allow ourselves to be challenged, to advance on the journey”. Thank you, in anticipation of your support. Let us journey together!
✠ Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Spend Time with the Lord — 40 hour devotion
On August 17 and 18, a 40-hour Eucharistic Adoration was held at Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Parish in Kapuskasing. This was in response to the invitation of Archbishop Prendergast in the July 11 Inter-Par to organize times of Eucharistic adoration in each of the parishes or group of parishes. The prayer group of the Knights of Columbus, council #2777, under the leadership of Brother Paul Mongenais, responded to the call. Members of the Knights of Columbus were present day and night. Because of the COVID-19 measures, people registered their names and telephone numbers indicating the time of their arrival. More than 50 people made more than 120 visits in all.
What is the “40 hours”?
The term 40 hours refers to the traditional three days – from Sunday afternoon to Tuesday evening – when many Catholic parishes display the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance on the altar. The number of hours represents the time during which, according to the faithful, Jesus was absent from the world. Between his death on Good Friday at about 3 p.m. and his resurrection on Easter morning at about 7 a.m., there are 40 hours. The exposition of the Holy Eucharist aims to promote the adoration and worship of Jesus in his hidden but real presence in the Blessed Sacrament.
People come and go throughout the day to spend between 30 minutes and an hour or more praying before the Blessed Sacrament on the altar. This time frame represents the request Jesus made during his agony in the Garden of Olives: Before his crucifixion and death on Good Friday, he asked, “Could you not spend an hour in prayer with me?” (Mark 14:37)
The aim is for the church to be open all night and all day for 40 consecutive hours to represent the time Jesus spent in the tomb. But this goal can only be achieved if safety and security needs are met to protect the church and the people who attend.
Today, and in smaller parishes, the Blessed Sacrament is often put down after an evening prayer service. Then, the next day, the Blessed Sacrament is exposed again after the morning Mass. The total is not 40 hours, but the traditional three days are still part of the process. Incense is used at the beginning and end of the 40 hours, recalling the words of Psalm 141 “Like burning incense, let my prayer rise to you”.
The history of the 40-hour devotion in a few words
The 40-hour devotion originated in Europe and was known as the Quarant’ Ore in Italian. St Anthony Mary Zaccaria launched the first 40 hours in Milan in 1527. He wanted to renew and reaffirm the belief in the real presence and the practice of adoration and worship of the Holy Eucharist, because it is no longer just bread in the form of a host. It only looks and tastes like bread, but Jesus is now present in the Eucharist — the substantial body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ.
St. Philip Neri (1515-1595) introduced this practice in Rome after Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation.
Here in Kapuskasing
It began with the usual Tuesday morning rosary at 8am, followed by mass co-presided by Gérald Chalifoux and Sébastien Groleau. After the prayer after communion, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed on the altar according to the liturgical rubrics. The period of adoration ended the next day, Wednesday evening at midnight, 40 hours later.
During that period, people from all over the area came, even more than once, to pray in silence for their own intentions or those of others. Sheets were prepared where people could write their intentions and leave them on the table before the Blessed Sacrament. Others left a photo of someone they were praying for.
The next “40 hours” is planned for the beginning of Advent. Already, we had two “12 hours” on September 8 and October 7.
A Time to Give Thanks
On this national day,
let us give thanks!
Let us thank the Lord
for the gift of life,
for the riches
with which he fills us
for he is the source
of all good!
Song: For this beautiful day
by Jean-Noël Laprise
for the gift of our lives,
For your tenderness
and your blessings,
And for the hand
that you place on us,
Thank you, Lord, Thank you!
it is you who trace our paths,
You are the Way,
the Truth, the Life,
We praise you
and bless your Name,
Thank you, Lord, thank you!
Spirit of love and faithfulness,
You put in us
Peace, Love, Joy,
you allow us to move forward,
Thank you, Lord, thank you!
For your sun,
For your nature,
For the water, the wind, the bird, the bee,
And for the beauty
you have created,
Thank you, Lord, Thank you!
allows us to praise
and thank the Lord
“Give thanks continually
for all things to God the Father,
in the name of our Lord
is a conversion of heart.
to say THANK YOU,
to know how
to practice gratitude,
towards those around us.
“One can only see well
with the heart,
the essential is invisible
for the eyes”.
This well-known phrase
makes us perceive
the human heart,
the incredible goodness of life
and the importance of gratitude.
What a good idea
to say THANK YOU
to God, to Life, to the Earth
and to our fellow human beings
for all that
we receive from them!
THANK YOU my God
you fill us unceasingly,
through your creation,
your Word and your Presence
in our lives.
invites us to say often:
“My soul, bless the Lord
and forget none of his benefits.
of his benefits”.
for the gift of life,
For your Word,
your Bread of Life,
For our families
and our friends,
For your love
that fills our souls,
For the hand
that you place on us,
For the people
who give service,
Thank you! Amen, Hallelujah!
A text by Carmen Laberge,
research assistant Louisette Tousignant
For the video and audio version*, visit the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires parish Facebook page at ndv kapuskasing parish
A Time for Reconciliation
On September 24, the Catholic Bishops of Canada formally apologized for the abuse that occurred in residential schools over the years and committed themselves to a process of reconciliation and healing. The full text is available on many websites including ours at hearstmoosonee.ca. Here are some additional notes.
- Our approach to the healing and reconciliation journey has been informed by the principle that we should not speak about Indigenous Peoples without speaking with them. We have had ongoing conversations with Indigenous leaders, both at the local and national levels, and bilaterally with First Nations, Métis and Inuit national organizations.
- At our national Plenary Assembly, Canadian bishops were presented with statements from Indigenous leaders and much of our work is informed by ongoing contributions from the Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle, a coalition of Catholic organizations and individuals working together to renew and foster relationships with Indigenous Peoples in Canada, and the Canadian Catholic Indigenous Council, an advisory body of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. We will continue to be inspired and motivated by these conversations as we walk together along the path of hope in the coming years.
- We are profoundly saddened by the residential school legacy and fully committed to working with Indigenous Peoples and communities across the country to support healing and reconciliation.
- The Catholic Bishops of Canada, gathered in Plenary this week, issued an unequivocal apology for the Church’s role in the residential school system and the suffering of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
- We acknowledge the grave abuses that were committed by some members of our Catholic community; physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, cultural, and sexual.
- The path to reconciliation is long and difficult, but we are committed to every step of this journey.
- As a tangible expression of our commitment, we are pledging to undertake fundraising in each region of the country to support initiatives discerned locally with Indigenous partners.
- We are moving forward with the delegation of Indigenous survivors, Elders/Knowledge keepers, and youth that will meet with the Holy Father in December 2021.
- There is no single step that can eliminate the pain felt by residential school survivors, but we collectively hope these measures will position us to walk together on the path of hope.
- As we continue on this journey, we will listen to the experience of Indigenous Peoples, especially to the survivors of residential schools, to guide our path forward.
- We approach this journey with humility and will provide regular updates as this work unfolds.
It is to be noted that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops was not a signatory to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and cannot specifically comment on the fundraising goals of participating Catholic entities. What we can say, is that we know there’s an acute need to do more. Nevertheless, the Catholic Bishops of Canada are pledging to undertake fundraising in each region of the country to support the work of healing and reconciliation.
Towards an ever wider « WE »
We celebrate today the 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees under the theme “Towards an ever wider “WE”.
In his message to mark this special day, Pope Francis reminds us that “God created us male and female, different yet complementary, in order to form a “we” destined to become ever more numerous in the succession of generations. God created us in his image, in the image of his own triune being, a communion in diversity.
His continues in reminding us that “When, in disobedience we turned away from God, he in his mercy wished to offer us a path of reconciliation, not as individuals but as a people, a “we”, meant to embrace the entire human family, without exception: “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them” (Rev 21:3).
These words of Pope Francis are coloured by the situation that preoccupies us at the moment, in particular that of the COVID-19 crisis. The Pope fears that “Once this health crisis passes, our worst response would be to plunge even more deeply into feverish consumerism and new forms of egotistic self-preservation. God willing, after all this, we will think no longer in terms of ‘them’ and ‘those’, but only ‘us’”
For the members of the Catholic Church, this appeal entails a commitment to becoming ever more faithful to our being “catholic”, as Saint Paul reminded the community in Ephesus: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph 4:4-5).
Indeed the Church’s catholicity, her universality, must be embraced and expressed in every age, according to the will and grace of the Lord who promised to be with us always, until the end of the age (cf. Mt 28:20).
I also make this appeal to journey together towards an ever wider “we” to all men and women, for the sake of renewing the human family, building together a future of justice and peace, and ensuring that no one is left behind.
The prophet Joel predicted that the messianic future would be a time of dreams and visions inspired by the Spirit: “I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28). We are called to dream together, fearlessly, as a single human family, as companions on the same journey, as sons and daughters of the same earth that is our common home, sisters and brothers all (cf. Fratelli Tutti, 8).
Holy, beloved Father,
your Son Jesus taught us that
there is great rejoicing in heaven
whenever someone lost is found,
whenever someone excluded,
rejected or discarded
is gathered into our “we”,
which thus becomes ever wider.
We ask you to
grant the followers of Jesus,
and all people of good will,
the grace to do your will on earth.
Bless each act of
welcome and outreach
that draws those in exile
into the “we”
of community and of the Church,
so that our earth may truly become
what you yourself created it to be:
the common home
of all our brothers and sisters.
Collection for the Needs of the Church in Canada
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Our clergy met this week for the first time in over a year and a half to consider the pastoral needs of our diocese and how to collaborate on common projects. One meeting took place in Kapuskasing, the other in Moosonee.
What priests do in meeting with their Bishop, bishops also do with their confreres. While each Bishop has the personal responsibility to guide the flock entrusted to his care, cooperation among dioceses is indispensable in our time.
Accordingly, many years ago the Bishops of Canada formed a national assembly called the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). In it, they share common concerns and cooperate on common ventures.
The Conference meets in plenary session once a year, usually in person, but last year and this year due to the pandemic did so by video-conferencing.
A current issue for discussion and cooperation is the need to address the crisis that has arisen among Canadians and the Catholic community as a result of the discovery of a large number of unmarked graves on the grounds of former residential schools.
This brings to the fore deliberations on how to begin anew the process of listening to the experience of our indigenous sisters and brothers. It means becoming ever more aware of the suffering many endured in being taken from their home at a young age and then suffering loss of their culture and dignity; in many cases they underwent various forms of abuse. This has led to inter-generational suffering, poverty and neglect.
Canadian society and the Roman Catholic Church have obligations to repent of their roles in this historically devastating social project imposed by the Government and aided by church leaders. Apologies have been offered and will continue to be needed until the path to reconciliation can be secured.
Representatives of Indigenous Peoples, the Inuit and Metis and a group of Bishops are preparing for a meeting with Pope Francis in Rome in December to discuss moving forward towards healing and even the possibility of an eventual papal visit to Canada.
As well, the CCCB is involved in national and international areas of pastoral activity, for example in overseeing new translations of texts for Mass and the Sacraments. In fact, our neighbour Bishop Poitras of Timmins represented Canada on the team working on a new French-language Roman Missal that we will begin to use in Advent this year. I was involved in working on the English Missal that was renewed in 2011 and benefitted much from meeting Bishops from around the world.
The CCCB is also concerned about issues of social justice, ecumenical and interfaith relations, collaboration with Aboriginal Peoples, life and family issues, liturgy, catechesis, doctrine and relations with Catholic associations and movements.
To cover the costs of the CCCB offices which are based in Ottawa, each diocese is assessed a sum to support the staff who work there on our behalf. The assessment is calculated on the capacity of the local church to pay its contribution. While the revenues of our diocese are minimal, it is important that we continue to pay our fair share.
Each September, the Bishops of Canada make an appeal for financial assistance from the laity to support their work through the Collection for the Needs of the Church in Canada.
This year the Collection for the Needs of the Church in Canada will be taken up on September 25 and 26, 2021.
I recommend that you contribute generously to this collection.
Thank you very much.
✠ Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
The Installation of a Parish Priest
One of the joys I have experienced as Bishop is the ceremony to install a parish’s new pastor, shortly after his nomination.
In these early weeks of the Pastoral Year 2021-2022, I have had or will have the honour of presiding at Mass during which the Church of Hearst-Moosonee welcomes the following recently-designated pastors:
Father Richard Fortin at Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire in Gogama;
Father Maxwell Ojukwu, at Transfiguration Parish, Cochrane;
Father Duolomane Okamba at St. Francis Xavier, Mattice and Holy Name of Jesus in Hornepayne;
Father Aimé Minkala at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, Hearst;
and Father Praveen Kumar at St. Patrick’s parish, Kapuskasing.
The ritual takes place after the homily and consists of several parts:
- A reminder to the priest of his overall mission: “As pastor of the parish you are called to love and serve the people entrusted to your care. With your co-workers, you welcome the young and the old, the strong and the weak, the rich and the poor alike. Your task is to unite all in the Lord and to celebrate the presence of Christ in Word and sacrament.”
- A procession to the places in the church where the pastor will celebrate the Sacraments (baptistery, confessional, ambo or pulpit, ambry (where the sacred oils are kept), tabernacle, altar, presidential chair.
- In each place, the one entrusted with the cure of souls is reminded of his obligations: for example, at the baptismal font: “Here at the font, in the living waters of baptism you will initiate men and women and children into the mysteries of our faith.” Or at the tabernacle: “Here from the tabernacle (chapel of reservation) you will bring to those who are dying their food for the journey. In this same place you will find refreshment and strength in your personal prayer; here too you will pray to God for parishioners and the parish.”
- Then, he is invited to renew the promises made at the time of his ordination: “Are you resolved to consecrate your life to God for the salvation of all, and to unite yourself more closely every day to Christ the High Priest, who offered himself for us to the Father as a perfect sacrifice?
- Together with his parishioners he is invited to renew the profession of faith using the formula at the renewal of promises at the Easter Vigil.
- Finally, the Bishop declares him installed as pastor of the parish and invites the community to welcome him.
- At the close of the Mass, a representative of the parish council may express words of welcome and the pastor himself may briefly address the congregation.
It’s a beautiful celebration that parishioners find uplifting. It stresses that while the pastor has administrative duties and responsibilities, his primary mission is that of proclaiming God’s saving actions in interpreting God’s Word and in celebrating the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, the “summit and source” of our life as Catholics.
As we welcome new pastors, several from other countries, let us give thanks to God for their ministry and pray that many individuals from our region will open themselves to a call from God to serve the Church as religious, priests and deacons. Let us also pray that God may send us a wise, generous, compassionate and zealous Bishop to lead our church.
✠ Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Making our Voices Heard
My schedule requires me to be in Moosonee on September 20, which is Election Day. So I have already gone to an Elections Canada office to vote ahead of time. It is also possible to apply for a “mail in” ballot or to cast your ballot on one of the “advance polling” days.
People wonder, why vote? What difference does it make? Well, Canadian Catholics are called upon as citizens to exercise their right to vote. You see, the Church asserts its belief in political freedom and in the responsibility of citizens. By exercising their right to vote, citizens fulfill their duty of choosing a government and at the same time send a clear signal to the candidates being presented by their political parties for election.
This year the period leading up to the election is very short. The “fourth wave” of Covid-19 and the risk from the “delta variant” limits contact with fellow voters, one’s neighbours, and the candidates themselves. So, we must find new ways to raise awareness about the values, views, and concerns shared by Catholics across the country.
Political candidates are citizens, too. They wish to assume responsibility for the well-being of the public. Their commitment and dedication are a generous contribution to society’s common good. For the purpose of the political community is itself the common good—that is, the sum of those conditions of social life whereby people, families and associations more adequately and readily attain their own perfection.
While Christian beliefs do not constitute a political platform, they can be seen as a prism through which to analyze and evaluate government policies, laws, and programs. The principles of respect for life from conception to natural death and of the dignity of the human person should influence how Christians assess a party’s position on key moral issues.
Choosing life also means being concerned for the weakest among us – physically, economically, and socially. It likewise implies the protection of fundamental human rights, including the right to religious freedom and freedom of conscience.
A just society is built when we live in solidarity and dialogue with different social partners, including Indigenous Peoples. And by supporting families and ensuring adequate funding for education, healthcare, housing, and the prevention and treatment of addictions.
Working with fellow citizens to address social concerns comes from the view that each person belongs to the community. To ensure our communities are truly welcoming and humane, we must combat forms of poverty that result in the segregation and isolation of individuals.
Believing in justice and peace includes daring to take a stand against such realities as human trafficking, which exploits young people and workers. It means entering into international treaties that respect the planet, our common home, as well as tirelessly working for the expansion of peace everywhere.
Exercising the right to vote means making informed judgments about the options available. There are times, however, when making a decision about who to vote for may prove very difficult.
The Church reminds us that a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law in which the content of faith and morals is replaced by the introduction of proposals directly opposing it.
It is a sign of a healthy democratic community when informed and responsible citizens engage in an ongoing dialogue on major social issues. This is precisely the kind of community we should strive to support and develop.
Much is expected of us because we are called to take an active part in morally shaping the societies we inhabit and, for us Christians in particular, to defend the rights of the most vulnerable.
I urge you to explore the options available for you to vote safely and wisely in the September 20 General Election.
Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
& the Canadian Conference
of Catholic Bishops
7th World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation September 1
I must admit that the announcement of the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” evokes a vague memory in me. Without Archbishop Prendergast’s reminder, it would have gone unnoticed again this year. And yet it was instituted back on August 6 2015, the feast of the Transfiguration. After some diligent research, I found Pope Francis letter intituting that day on September 1 of every year. Here are the first 3 paragraphs from the message Pope Francis wrote at that time.
“Sharing the concern of my beloved brother, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, for the future of creation (cf. Laudato Si’, 7-9), and at the suggestion of his representative, Metropolitan John of Pergamo, who took part in the presentation of the Encyclical Laudato Si’ on the care for our common home, I wish to inform you that I have decided to institute in the Catholic Church the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” which, beginning this year, is to be celebrated on 1 September, as has been the custom in the Orthodox Church for some time.
As Christians we wish to contribute to resolving the ecological crisis which humanity is presently experiencing. In doing so, we must first rediscover in our own rich spiritual patrimony the deepest motivations for our concern for the care of creation. We need always to keep in mind that, for believers in Jesus Christ, the Word of God who became man for our sake, “the life of the spirit is not dissociated from the body or from nature or from worldly realities, but lived in and with them, in communion with all that surrounds us” (Laudato Si’, 216). The ecological crisis thus summons us to a profound spiritual conversion: Christians are called to “an ecological conversion whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them” (ibid., 217). For “living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience” (ibid.).
The annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation will offer individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live. The celebration of this Day, on the same date as the Orthodox Church, will be a valuable opportunity to bear witness to our growing communion with our Orthodox brothers and sisters. We live at a time when all Christians are faced with the same decisive challenges, to which we must respond together, in order to be more credible and effective. It is my hope that this Day will in some way also involve other Churches and ecclesial Communities, and be celebrated in union with similar initiatives of the World Council of Churches.”
A first option might be to read, or reread Pope Francis encyclical “Laudato si’” (available online at www.vatican.va) on the care of our common home. Who knows, we might find some inspiration to accompany our prayer with some actions.
Rev. Sebastien Groleau
52nd Eucharistic Congress in Budapest
Have you ever noticed that some very important things may never be reported on the news or come across our radar as Catholics? Here is an example: Did you know that there will be an International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, from September 5-12, 2021?
This is absolutely great news for all Catholics. We are coming through a time when the COVID pandemic kept people from receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion and from one another. Recently polls have shown us that about two-thirds of Catholics in the United States do not believe or understand that the Holy Eucharist is really and substantially the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The situation is probably similar in Canada.
We need a revival in our faith in Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. This is why I am inviting our Diocese of Hearst-Moosonee to focus on the Blessed Sacrament in the coming Pastoral Year (September 2021-June 2022). I will speak of this in future issues of InterPAR.
The International Eucharistic Congress of 2021 is the 52nd such event in the history of the Church, which normally occur every four years. The first one was held in 1881 in Lille, France. The last one was in the Philippines in 2016.
So what is an International Eucharistic Congress all about? The purpose is for the Church to bear witness to the Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Bishops, priests, deacons, religious women and men and the lay faithful come together to pray and reflect before the Eucharistic Lord and proclaim to all the world that God so loves us that He became one of us and remains with us in the Blessed Sacrament.
In the Bread of Life—about which Jesus has been teaching in the Gospel on recent Sundays—He gives himself to us every time his Sacrifice is celebrated at Mass. He also calls us to his loving Eucharistic Presence reserved in the tabernacles or exposed on the altars of our churches in the monstrance. The Lord of heaven and earth begs us to come to Him and be filled with his life and be given hope for our journey through our life. His abiding Presence in our midst is worth celebrating every day and with a Eucharistic Congress every four years.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it this way, “…the power of the words and the action of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit makes sacramentally present under the appearances of the bread and wine Christ’s body and blood, his sacrifice offered once for all on the cross.” (CCC, 1353)
In the Holy Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained” (Council of Trent). It cannot be any clearer than that!
This means that Jesus never abandons us. His Presence is always with us. In a world that has grown so cold, dark, divided and inhospitable, His Eucharistic Presence is always in our midst and is always asking us to come to Him and experience the warmth of His love. Each Eucharistic Congress clearly and enthusiastically cries out to us to come to Him, receive Him and know his mercy for us.
The people who gather in Budapest will proclaim to the whole world that we should not be afraid because He is with us. The love poured out through His Body and Blood will conquer all violence and division, all hatred and destruction of humanity so prevalent today.
Let us pray for all who will gather with Pope Francis in Budapest on September 12 that we the Catholics of the world may come to a greater appreciation of how great a gift the Holy Eucharist is.
Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ
The Assumption: Our Patronal Feast
In the Assumption, the titular feast of our cathedral, we celebrate the wonders that the Lord has done for the Virgin Mary and will do for us.
The Assumption is the oldest feast of Our Lady. After the construction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 336, the inhabitants of Jerusalem began to commemorate the events of Christ’s life and soon afterwards they paid homage to his mother.
The tomb of the Virgin was near Mount Zion, where the Christian community lived. This is where Mary “fell asleep”, where she died. There the faithful of the time celebrated a feast in memory of Mary.
For a time, this feast was celebrated only in Palestine. Later it was extended to all the churches of the East. In the seventh century, Rome spoke of the “Dormition” (or “falling asleep”) of the Mother of God, a designation that Eastern Orthodox Christians have retained to this day.
When it was introduced in the West, the feast was called the Assumption, emphasizing that Mary had been taken, body and soul, to heaven when she left this life.
When the bishops of the Mediterranean world met in Constantinople in 451 for the Council of Chalcedon, the Emperor asked the Patriarch of Jerusalem to bring him the relics of Mary to be placed in the Capitol. The Patriarch replied that there were no relics of Mary in Jerusalem. He said, “Mary died in the presence of the apostles, but later, when her tomb was opened, it was found empty. The apostles then concluded that the body had been taken to heaven.”
In the eighth century, St. John Damascene in one of the sermons he delivered at Mary’s tomb said: “Although her body was placed in the tomb according to custom, it does not remain in death and is not destroyed by corruption. You have been taken to your heavenly home, Oh Our Lady, you are truly Queen and Mother of God!”
In 1950, Pope Pius XII, after a consultation with the bishops of the world, declared that the Assumption of Mary truly is a dogma of the Catholic Church. He wrote: “Mary, the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, at the end of her earthly life, was raised soul and body to heavenly glory.” With this, the ancient belief in the Assumption became officially Catholic doctrine. The Church declared it a truth revealed by God.
The text from Revelation that opens today’s Liturgy of the Word speaks of a pregnant woman who has “the sun for a mantle, the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” The Church refers this text to the Virgin Mary who gave birth to Jesus, called to become “the shepherd of all nations”.
Mary, after transmitting human life to her son, accompanied him throughout his growth and then supported him during his public life. She lived with him in the days of his passion and was there at the hour of his death on the cross. It was only natural that she should be “lifted up” (assumed) to him from the moment of her death.
Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians reminds us that Christ “rose from the dead to be the first fruits of the harvest of those who rise from the dead”. After him, then, there was Mary, and after her there will be a multitude of people whom we cannot count. That is our hope!
The privileged place given to Mary in the triumphal procession of those risen from the dead must be understood in the light of her mission and the special love that God had for her. Mary’s presence in glory with her body and soul strengthens our faith and hope in our own resurrection.
The Gospel reminds us that the central mystery of Mary’s life and person is her divine motherhood. She had the fullness of grace from the very first moment of her existence, completely untouched by sin. This life was crowned by her assumption into heaven with her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Have a happy celebration of our diocesan patronal feast!
Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
New Priestly Assignments
The gospel we read on July 11 (Mk 6:7-13) is very insightful in the situation of the new priestly appointments. We see Jesus take the initiative to send his disciples two by two to the towns and villages where he himself was to go. The disciples do not seem to have chosen which village to go to and the people of the villages did not ask for this or that disciple. It is Jesus, the good shepherd, who takes the initiative. Archbishop Prendergast, our good shepherd, who cares for the portion of the People of God entrusted to his pastoral care, and keeping in mind the physical and spiritual health of his priests, has recently made some changes in the assignments. Thus,
Fr. Hervé Sauvé is confirmed as pastor of the parishes of Sacred Heart (Chapleau), of Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs (Foleyet) and of the mission of Saint-Jean-Brébeuf (Sultan).
Fr. Richard Fortin, presently pastor of Transfiguration Parish in Cochrane is named administrator of the parish of Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire (Gogama).
Fr. Maxwell Ojukwu, presently administrator of the parishes of Sacred Heart (Chapleau), Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs (Foleyet), and Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire (Gogama) and of the mission of St. Jean-Brébeuf (Sultan) is named as pastor of Transfiguration Parish in Cochrane.
Fr. Duolomane Okamba presently parochial vicar at the Cathedral is named pastor of the parishes of Saint-François-Xavier (Mattice) and Holy Name of Jesus (Hornepayne).
Fr. John Okoh, presently administrator of the parishes of Saint-François-Xavier (Mattice) and Holy Name of Jesus (Hornepayne) will pursue studies in Canon Law at St. Paul’s University with residence at St. Patrick’s Basilica, Ottawa.
These nominations took effect on August 2, 2021.
Deacon Jean Beausoleil
It is not always easy to let go of a priest whom one has loved and who has devoted himself to the parish for a number of years. Nevertheless, it is necessary to do everything possible to welcome the new pastor while giving thanks and gratitude to the one who is leaving for another parish. Let us remember that at the heart of our community is not this priest or that priest but Christ Jesus himself.
We also need to make time to grieve. Indeed, grieving is not only about the death of a loved one, but it is always about a change of situation in our relationships.
Let us also take the time, as a community, to say goodbye to one and welcome the other.
As priests, we too have to make time to grieve. Each time we leave a parish, we take with us the bonds of friendship, cooperation and pastoral support, knowing that we will have to forge other bonds wherever the Lord asks us to continue our ministry.
As priests, we are very aware of our limitations. We are well aware that we have not been able to meet all the expectations of all the people in the parish. While our humanity helps us it also constrains us. On the other hand, our relationship with Christ helps us to stay the course, responding to Christ’s call, “Go! Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mt 28.19-20)
Christ’s Glory on the Mountain is our hope
On 6 August 1978, Pope Paul VI, the hero of my youth, died. It was on the Feast of the Transfiguration, a Sunday that year.
In the last years of his life as Pope, the Holy Father had seemed shrouded in darkness and gloom, carrying a heavy cross. I found it very appropriate that God should call him back to his heavenly dwelling and to the light of the risen Lord Jesus on this feast day. God was fulfilling the promise made to Giovanni Battista Montini at his baptism.
On that day when he met the risen Lord for the first time, his parents and godparents received a lighted candle with the promise of eternal life for those who keep faith on the path of life.
I share this reflection with you, because I propose that the Transfiguration of Jesus, which we will celebrate on Friday of this week, may become a sign of hope for the life of each of us who are disciples of Christ, believers who are called to carry the cross to the glory of heaven.
New Testament scholars puzzle over the mystery of the Transfiguration. Some see in it characteristics of the Resurrection appearances, which are absent in Mark. Mark’s gospel originally ended at 16.8 with no appearance of the risen Lord Jesus, only a promise to Peter and the others that they would meet Christ in Galilee (Mark 16.7).
In the resurrection accounts that we find in the other gospels, however, an angel or Jesus usually gives specific individuals the mission to proclaim the resurrection and Jesus comes to meet them soon afterwards.
In the Transfiguration, by contrast, Jesus commands silence. “Jesus commanded them not to speak to anyone about what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead” (Mark 9.9).
This link Jesus makes with the Passion is expressed in the Preface of the Mass on this feast day. The celebrant praises God by recalling that Jesus, who had already prepared the disciples for his imminent death, “wanted to teach them that the promised Christ had first to suffer and thus attain the glory of his resurrection”.
The voice of God, coming from the cloud that covered Jesus and his heavenly visitors, emphasised the importance of Jesus’ words about how to be his followers. God the Father not only said, “This is my beloved Son”, but also commanded the privileged apostles Peter, James and John to “listen to him”.
In Jesus’ day, Jews believed that Moses and Elijah were biblical figures who lived in the presence of God. Because Moses’ grave could not be found (cf. Deuteronomy 34.5-8) and Elijah was taken to heaven in a chariot (2 Kings 2.1-11), some Jewish traditions considered that they had escaped death and were living with God.
Thus, Moses and Elijah appear next to Christ in the Transfiguration to show that he is the fulfilment of the Law and the Prophets, and that everything begins and ends in Jesus.
In the Transfiguration, the emphasis is on the paradox of the Cross and the necessity, in God’s wisdom, for Jesus to suffer and die before entering glory. The cross is presented as the only way for him to enter into the divine glory which, for a brief moment, bursts forth in the features of his body and in his clothes: “He was transfigured before them and his clothes became so dazzlingly white that no one on earth could make them white”.
The invitation of the Transfiguration, for the chosen disciples, Peter, James and John, as well as for us, the faithful of today, is to listen to Jesus and to follow him, giving up our lives out of love for one another, in obedience to the will of the Father.
Let us never forget that the way of Jesus always leads us to happiness! There will always be a cross at the centre of each of our lives, but in the end… God always leads us to happiness.
This was true in the life and death of Pope Paul VI. We believe it will be the same for each of us.
Happy Feast of the Transfiguration!
Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
We Celebrate the Grandparents and the Elderly
Today is the day that Pope Francis invites us to celebrate the grandparents and the elderly. Archbishop Prendergast, in last week’s InterPar, outlined the points the Pope wishes to highlight in this now annual celebration, which will be celebrated around the Feast of St. Ann & Joachim.
Under the theme “I am with you always”, Pope Francis reminds us of the contribution of grandparents and individuals not only in families, but in the life of the whole community.
Although the document alludes to the deceased elderly of COVID-19, the focus of this day is really on the “living” people who are the main recipients.
Prayer for the first World Day
for Grandparents and the Elderly
I thank You, Lord,
for the comfort of Your presence:
even in times of loneliness,
You are my hope and my confidence,
You have been my rock and my fortress
since my youth!
I thank You
for having given me a family and
for having blessed me
with a long life.
I thank You for moments
of joy and difficulty,
for the dreams that have already
come true in my life and for
those that are still ahead of me.
I thank You for this time of renewed
fruitfulness to which You call me.
Increase, O Lord, my faith,
make me a channel of your peace,
teach me to embrace
those who suffer more than me,
to never stop dreaming
and to tell of your wonders
to new generations.
Protect and guide
Pope Francis and the Church,
that the light of the Gospel
might reach the ends of the earth.
Send Your Spirit, O Lord,
to renew the world,
that the storm of the pandemic
might be calmed,
the poor consoled and wars ended.
Sustain me in weakness
and help me to live life to the full
in each moment that You give me,
in the certainty that
you are with me every day,
even until the end of the age. Amen
Here are some thoughts gathered by Alain Trottier from Immaculate Conception Parish in Kapuskasing
is a fruit in its maturity.
Old age is a tyrant who forbids,
on pain of death
all the pleasures of youth.
is winter for the ignorant,
and harvest time
for the wise.
An old man is a book
that one neglects to read.
Every age bears its fruits,
one must know how to pick them.
When an old man dies
it is a library that disappears.
Growing old is still the only way
we have found to live a long life!
You can’t stop yourself
from getting old,
but you can stop yourself
from becoming old.
An old apple tree
does not produce old apples.
You can see the flame
in the eyes of young people.
But in the eye of the old man
one sees light.
The eyes of the spirit
only begin to be piercing
when those of the body
begin to fail.
Mrs Carmen Laberge and Louisette Tousignant prepared a short video (in French only) for this first World Day for the Grandparents and the Elderly. It is available on the FB page of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires parish in Kapuskasing.
Video from the CCCB
July 18, 2021
Honouring Grandparents and the Elderly
Growing up in Montreal in the 1950s, I knew only one of my grandparents, my maternal grandmother, who lived with us a couple of winters when I was about 8 and 9.
When I chat now with my brothers and sister, I am often impressed by the delight they take in being grandparents. They are also happy that from time to time I can spend time with their children and grandkids.
Good aunts and uncles, and especially grandparents when the contact is regular, are considerable blessings even in a happy childhood.
Today it is not unusual for both parents to work full time. This is often necessary to buy a house, but it comes at a price especially for pre-school children.
On many occasions grandparents help fill this gap. One of the most precious gifts they give their grandchildren is the gift of their time. A child needs someone to listen to him or her – someone who will understand and accept them for who he or she is.
It’s the importance of connecting young people with their grandparents and other elderly persons that prompted Pope Francis to establish the first “World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly”. He put it on the Sunday before the annual feast of Jesus’ grandparents Saints Anne and Joachim (on July 26). So this year’s celebration will be next Sunday, July 25.
A decent society respects grandparents, even when they are tempted to be a bit bossy. Of course, a wise grandparent understands and accepts that he or she is not the parent and that there may be areas of their grandchildren’s upbringing with which they disagree.
Recently Pope Francis spoke of grandparents as a “treasure” and said that “A people that does not care for its grandparents, a people that does not respect their grandparents, does not have a future, because they do not have a memory, they have lost their memory.”
No one comes to faith alone, and the memory of our ancestors often plants the seed of faith and keeps it alive, especially when things are difficult. It is claimed grandparents preserved the Christian faith during seventy years of persecution in Soviet Russia.
In the beautiful words of Pope Francis, grandparents and the elderly “are those who carry history, who carry doctrine, who carry the faith and give it to us as an inheritance. They are like a good vintage wine who have this strength from within to give us a noble heritage.”
It’s important to acknowledge the contribution of grandparents, now close to me in age, who have undertaken to bring up their grandchildren. This is rewarding, of unmeasurable value to the youngsters involved but very hard work.
This newly-dedicated World Day offers a welcome focus by the Church on grandparents and elders, a cohort of people who have particularly suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many older people succumbed to the virus, while others had to cocoon for several months unable to see their grandchildren and families.
Our parishes are invited to celebrate grandparents, elders, older priests and religious, who have given lives of dedicated service to their families and communities. Perhaps special efforts can be made to invite grandparents and their children and grandchildren and other elderly persons to join in Sunday Mass next weekend and to honour them afterwards (as health conditions allow).
The theme chosen for this inaugural year is “I am with you always” (Matthew 28.20), highlighting Jesus’ promise to be close to us that generations share with each other. Not only are our young people called to be present in the lives of older people, but so too grandparents and elders have a mission to encourage young people on their faith journey.
Terrence Prendergast, SJ
July 11, 2021
The Sunday Eucharist, Cause of our Joy
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the lifeblood of the Church. It requires our active participation and, to be fully celebrated, our physical presence.
At this moment, then, we need to have in our sights the need to restore to its rightful centrality in our lives the Sunday Mass, encouraging each to take his or her place once again in the assembly of our brothers and sisters.
We face the task of seeking to nurture the sense of Sunday as “a weekly gift from God to his people”, and something we cannot do without.
Our challenge is to see Sunday as the soul of the week, as giving light and meaning to all the responsibilities we live out each day.
We wish to grasp the conviction that the Sunday Eucharist is food we need for the great mission we have been given in our Baptism.
As we come out of the pandemic, we can do no better than to rekindle in our hearts, foster and encourage, a yearning for the Real Presence of the Lord and the practice of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, a gift that many felt deprived of in the period of the lockdown.
We need to begin by fostering this in ourselves. For the Eucharist should be the cause of our deepest joy, our highest manner of offering thanks to God and for seeking his mercy and love. We need to make it the foundation stone of our lives.
The invitation to Sunday Mass echoes more deeply when we consider, as Pope St John Paul II reminded us in the Encyclical Letter “Dies Domini”—the “Lord’s Day”—that the Sabbath rest is nothing if not a call to remember the gift of God’s Creation.
The Eucharist is truly a celebration of the created world, called into life by the Eternal Word, incarnate in Jesus Christ. For the bread and wine of the earth becomes the Body
and Blood of Christ who is that same Lord of all life. The Christ to whom we come so close in the Eucharist must be the foundation of our strivings, especially in the urgent task we face of ca ring for creation and our environment.
Pope St John Paul II spoke of our amazement at the gift of the Mass and the abiding Presence of our Blessed Lord in the Sacrament of the Altar. There lies our treasure. It enriches our relationship with Jesus and brings together every aspect of our life and mission. This is such an important focus for our task in the coming months.
Accordingly, I propose in the coming Pastoral Year that we give a special focus on the Eucharist in our lives. Most importantly, I encourage all to return to the practice of regularly attending Sunday Mass.
I also encourage Eucharistic Adoration at least once monthly in each of our parishes. Wherever possible, I would like parishes to organize the traditional “Forty Hours” devotion where people would adore the Blessed Sacrament for a full day and a half, with the faithful from neighbouring parishes coming together to pray with them.
There are several intentions I am recommending for these monthly periods of adoration before the Lord exposed in the monstrance: for amazement before this sacrament of God’s love and mercy; for vocations to the priesthood and religious life in our diocese; for the Bishop whose heart God is now preparing to lead us into a future full of hope.
God bless you one and all.
Terrence Prendergast, SJ