Sunday, September 19, 2010

Regina Catholic Schools Opening Mass for the School Year

At the end of August, close to 1,000 teachers gathered at the Cathedral to begin the School Year with the Celebration of the Eucharist, offering to God the year to come in our schools and class rooms, placing into God's hands the children and youth who will come to us seeking formation for life, and also placing into God's care and guidance all of those who will teach them and provide the safe, clean and healthy environment in which all this will happen

Some smiling superannuate teachers
Here are some of the thoughts that I shared with the teachers on the meaning of Catholic Education at that Mass:

Some of the Trustees

During his visit to Great Britain, Pope Benedict will celebrate the beatification of John Henry Newman. I mention this because one of Newman’s great contributions to the Church was his thought on Catholic Education.

Throughout the province Catholic school divisions begin another year of Catholic Education. We might well ask: What is Catholic Education anyway? Why do we promote, defend, and sometimes fight for what we call Catholic Education? Is there something special, something different from other forms of education to be found in Catholic education?

Opening Procession

Cardinal Newman’s reflections can be illuminating in finding answers to these questions. And they are important questions. For those who are teachers in Catholic Schools these questions are especially important for they deal with what teachers do for their livelihood, and how they do it and even who they are as educators in a Catholic School system. When I walk into a Catholic School I often comment that there is a noticeable difference from other schools. Is it a difference simply of feeling or atmosphere; is it a difference of a particular respect and care for people? Is it some other difference? It is worth asking the question because I believe that the difference is there and it is real.

Roderick Strange, in an article “Newman Teaching Teachers,” found in the British Jesuits Web On Line Journal “Thinking Faith 2010,” recalled that, at one point in his life, Newman had set out to establish the Oratory School, a school that offered the kind of high quality academic education that was available to those who went to the famous public schools like Eton, Winchester, and Harrow. Newman felt that, however high the quality of education was, those famous schools fell short. This was because they lacked a spiritual and pastoral view. In his school Newman sought to combine academic excellence with precisely that spiritual and pastoral care that was lacking in those renowned schools.

Members of the Staff Choir

Msgr. Strange states that it was spiritual and pastoral care that made the difference in excellent education. Newman believed that Education needs not only to touch minds but it must also touch hearts. He said: ‘An academical system without the personal influence of teachers upon pupils, is an arctic system; it will create an ice-bound, petrified, cast-iron (school), and nothing else’ (Historical Sketches iii. p.74). For John Henry Newman, it was always the same message: education is never merely a matter of learning; it involves a care for the person as well.

And so it is with our Catholic Schools, what makes the difference is that we not only move the mind, but that we also touch the heart and that we touch the heart with the love of God, and that we touch the heart with the love of God that we show by our own witness and by the commitment to the spiritual and pastoral care of every student who comes to us. And we do that because we follow Jesus in our lives and we believe in the value of our Catholic Faith and see it as a treasure that God has given to us in the life and words of Jesus Christ.

Many of the Pastors of the City joined in Concelebrating the Mass

At the beginning of Jesus ministry in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus lays out for all who would listen those things that would define his ministry in the world. It was not an intellectual or theological dissertation. It was a didactic statement of spiritual and pastoral care: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”

In his earthly ministry, Jesus was the Word of God, Jesus was the Revelation of God, the Bread of Life come down from heaven so that whoever would believe in him would have eternal life. (Jn 6) Jesus was the Teacher, but Jesus taught with spiritual and pastoral care. Jesus touched hearts as he brought good news to people who found life meaningless and hopeless. He set people free from the mental and physical illness, the prejudice, the rejection, the marginalization that robbed them of their dignity and their freedom. Jesus even set them free from death, the ultimate thief. Jesus revealed the truth about God and ourselves, but as he did that, he touched and transformed people’s lives.

The children also joined the celebration
All of this revealed who Jesus was and who the Father was. All of this was Revelation and it came as a gift from God. And John Henry Newman proposed that this revelation was the context for Catholic Education. Msgr. Strange pointed out that Newman believed that what has been revealed and received and articulated, must be communicated. It needs to be passed on. He also referred to Newman’s understanding that all of this revelation is a gift to us. “It is not of our making. What we believe is not something we have somehow managed to construct for ourselves.” We do not make it up. It is a gift from God.

Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” And there it is, the gift!

Director of Education Rob Currie with his family.

Jesus, the Son of God, has chosen to reveal these things to us. As the Church we have received and articulated what has been revealed, and as teachers we communicate this revelation to the young people in our care. We do this certainly by what we say but we do it especially and, perhaps even more importantly, by the witness of our lives.

You remember the story of how Jesus had healed the man from Gerasene, who had been possessed by a legion of demons. St Mark tells us: “He lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones.” His life was a horror.

Chair of the Board, Vicky Bonnell

Jesus drove out the demons and restored peace and freedom to the man’s life. And when the man asked if he could go with him, Jesus said no, rather he told the man to go home to his family and his friends and he said: You tell them “how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.”

Is this not what it means to be a witness to Christ, to be a teacher who passes on the gift that was given to him or to her? We are called show to the children in our care as well as speak to them “how much the Lord has done for us, and what mercy he has shown us.” And so we not only move their minds, but we touch their hearts with the love and care of God so that they will know the love and care that God has for them. That is Catholic education.

Twenty year Award Recipients
Pope John Paul II said this to American Catholic Educators in Louisiana: “By enriching your student’s lives with the fullness of Christ’s message and by inviting them to accept with all their hearts Christ’s work, which is the Church, you promote most effectively their integral human development and you help them to build a community of faith, hope and love."

Twenty five year Award Recipients
If we are to be able to do this effectively, surely we need to reflect on what God has done for us in our own lives. We need to recognize the ways in which God has touched us, helped us, strengthened us in difficult times, and the way God has guided us in our lives. Perhaps above all, we need to remember that God has brought us out of darkness into his own wonderful light, that God has delivered us from death’s sting and give us eternal life, and above all that God loves us and cares for us.

Hope for the future: New Staff Members
Knowing this, we, as Catholic Teachers, can move the minds of our children and youth and touch their hearts. We can promote most effectively their integral human development, as Newman said. We can give them a Catholic Education, building a community of faith, hope and love in which they can learn ways whereby they can live successful and happy lives.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pligrimage to Rome for the Closing of the Year For Priests

The Holy Father invited the priests of the world to come to Rome on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to solemnly bring to a close the Year for Priests. I felt that this would be an excellent experience for any of our priests who would like to take part in this very special event. My experience of such events is that one experiences the vastness of the Universal Church and also one is encouraged by the realization that we are not alone in our faith nor in facing its challenges in our contemporary world. So I accompanied seven priests from the Archdiocese of Regina on this pilgrimage and Bishop Don accompanied five of the clergy from the Diocese of Saskatoon. Some of us looked pretty cheery as we arrived at the Airport in Rome after a long flight from Regina via Toronto.

Before the sessions for the Year for Priests began, thanks to Bishop Don's arrangements, we had the opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist together in two very special locations. The first was in the Grotto of St. Peter's at the Tomb of St. Peter, which is just behind us here in this picture.

The second place was at the Altar of Blessed John XXIII in the floor of St. Peter's Basilica. The remains of Blessed John were moved here after his Beatification in the year 2000 to give the faithful access to his tomb in order that they may more easily spend time in prayer. Pope John brought the gift of the Second Vatican Council to the Church

Bishop Don presided over the Mass. Our Deacon and myself were in the small space at the altar and the other priests were concelebrating from just in front of the railing.
In addition to the sessions at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, where the body of St. Paul is buried not far from the place of his martyrdom, there were two times of prayer with the Holy Father. The first was on Thursday evening, a vigil of prayer and reflection held in St. Peter's Square.

The Holy Father was energetic and, I am sure, delighted with the number of priests who came from around the world to join with him in prayer and celebration. There were over 11,000 priests in attendance, much more than the organizers had expected. I thought that this was a wonderful witness to the unity of the priesthood and the support that the Holy Father has from his priests around the globe.

The picture of St. Jean Marie Vianney, the Curé of Ars, patron saint of Parish Priests was prominent on the facade of St. Peter's that evening. It was on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his death that Pope Benedict dedicated this past year as the Year for Priests.

The Vigil of Prayer concluded with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament following a time of silent prayer and adoration presided over by the Holy Father.

On Friday the Holy Father invited all the priests present to Concelebrate the Eucharish with him in St. Peter's Square. Someone mentioned that it was the largest Papal concelebration in the history of the Church. There was certainly three to four hundred bishops as well who formed their part of the procession inside St. Peter's Basilica.

Here was our group in the Square after the Mass. Bishop Don was brave and wore his cassock. The temperature was well into the 30's that day and no respite from the Roman Sun during the two hours or so of the Mass. It was nonetheless very beautiful and moving to see that great number of priests concelebrating this special Mass.

Fr. Vitalis was the one who took the large group picture, so here are the Regina priests, including Fr. Vitalis. The yellow hats (papal colours) were part of the kit given to all the priests who attended to assure that they had some protection from the sun.

Some of our group left us at the end of the celebrations in Rome while some remained for a couple of days to see a bit more of the Eternal City. We visited the Catacombs of St. Priscilla. The early Christians strongly disapproved of the Roman practice of cremation, largely because the process of burning a loved one on top of old household furniture seemed disrespectful and there was not a great regard for gathering up the ashes.

Christians preferred to bury the whole body as did the Jewish community in Rome. The Romans did not allow the burial of bodies or ashes within the walls of the city, so Christians and Jews began the practice of using underground vaults or tufa stone caves on property outside the city walls to bury their dead. These were often situated on property donated by the wealthier members of their communities, and continue to bear their names. This is the case for the Catacombs of St. Priscilla.

This particular catacomb is of special interest for its wall paintings, which give us, among other things, the first known painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the child Jesus on her lap. We concluded our visit by celebrating the Eucharist in the Catacombs as the Christian people of Rome did 1,700 years ago.

Another interesting and prayerful occasion happened when we joined the Community of Saint'Edidio for evening prayer in the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere. There is this wonderful mosaic of Christ with Mary over the altar. Thomas Cahil in his book on the Middle Ages speaks of the progress during which the people of Italy ceased to be Romans and became Italians. He used this mosaic as an illustration. Most often, in the ancient mosaics of Christ, Jesus is presented as the "Creator of All" and is usually portrayed as being very serious, majestic and almost severe. Here Jesus is "Italian" - open faced, handsome and his arm around his mother's shoulder. We often hear stories of how Italian men are devoted to their mothers. Here Jesus has his arm around his beloved "mama" and she is sitting there very proud of her Son.

On the Wednesday, Bishop Don and myself played hookey from the moring lecture and went to the Pope's audience in St. Peter's Square. There is usually an opportunity for bishops to sit up with the Holy Father and briefly say hello to him afterwards. These times have been particularly difficult because of personal attacks on his leadership in dealing with sexual abuse cases. So, I felt that it was important for me to let him know that the Catholic people of Regina give him their love and support as he deals with these very difficult issues. I had the chance to do that after the audience.

I will share with you a few pictures taken in the Sacristy of St. Peter's Basilica while we were preparing for the Masses we were to celebrate there. It was interesting to see that the Sacristy is bigger than many of our churches here in Saskatchewan

Bishop Don and myself were "properly" attired for our visit to celebrate the Eucharist at the Tomb of St. Peter. Every Bishop needs a good Deacon, and here we were blessed with Deacon Geoff Young from Saskatoon.

Our group was in one corner waiting to be taken to the place where we would celebrate the Mass. Those who care for the Sacristy are very gracious and helpful and often under great stress as they handle great numbers of priests and bishops who come to celebrate the Eucharist in the Basilica.

Fr Danilo and Fr Thang at the base of one of the pillars.

Fr Brian Meredith, Rector of Holy Rosary Cathedral here in Regina with Deacon Geoff. As we proceed with renovations to our cathedral, I hope that he wasn't taking any ideas from St. Peter's!

Here is a view of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, looking out from behind the main altar. It was here that the conferences and times of prayer were held for the priests. The body of St. Paul is buried below the altar. It was originally planned to have all the priests come to St. Paul's for the events, however so many more priests than planned had come that it was necessary to divide the group in two with the other language groups gathering in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Cathedral church of Rome.

Mass that day was presided over by Cardinal Tarcissio Bertone, the Pope's Secretary of State, seen standing in the background at the Chair. In front are some of the Cardinals present at the Mass, including, second from the right, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who gave the reflection that morning on the challenges that the church faces from without and within, "

We pray together for the unity of the Church and for the sanctification of priests, these heralds of the good news of salvation," he said.

And here are a few of our group standing outside the Basilica of St. Paul after the morning session.

There was a special occasion on Sunday when we joined Bishop Don at Mass with the Caravita Community, an International Catholic Community in Rome. This was Bishop Don's "home parish" as it were when he was working in Rome for the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. It was nice to see how delighted they were in welcoming him back and their happiness that he had been ordained a Bishop. With us in this picture is Archbishop Emilius Goulet, Archbishop Emeritus of St. Boniface in Manitoba.

After the Mass everyone made their way to the Church of St. Georgio in the shadow of the Capitoline Hill for a very pleasant "pot luck" lunch. Seen here on the left is Bishop Brian Farrell who is the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and was one of the principal co-consecrators at Bishop Don's ordination to the Episcopate in March.

So our pilgrimage to the Tomb of Peter, I believe, was a success. It was a time of prayer at very holy places. We experienced our connection with the Church throughout the world as well as the Church throughout the ages. A fitting way to conclude the Year for Priests.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

St. Patrick's, Cupar: A Hundred Years of Living the Faith

Early in the month the Parish Community of St. Patrick's in Cupar celebrated 100 years of living the Catholic Faith. St. Patrick's is one of the communities served by Msgr. Reymundo Assis at St. John the Baptist in Southey. As you can see from the picture, we had a great turn out of the faithful for the celebration of this Mass.

The celebration of these special anniversaries are occurring with some regularity these years in rural Saskatchewan. The faith is strong and long standing in these communities, but the reality of the shift in population and the diminishing reality of the family farm causes concern on the part of parishioners for what will lie ahead for their parish.

These occasions of celebration are wonderful opportunities for me to meet the parishioners of our diocesan church, both the present members of the parish and those who come back home to the roots of their faith.

The young people are present in these parishes, but not to the degree as in the past. This phenomenon is found throughout our church in Saskatchewan and beyond, but it becomes a particular worry to small communities.

Nonetheless the presence of our people of all ages continues to be a sign of hope for our Church and a sign of hope that we will continue into the future carrying out the mission that Jesus, our Risen Lord, has given to us.

After the Celebration of the Eucharist there was a gathering in the community hall with entertainment and a good meal.

Here again, the talent and commitment of the young people was evident and their contribution was certainly enjoyable. During my remarks to the parishioners I spoke of the worries and concerns we have regarding the future not only of our smaller parishes but of the Church itself. I related an experience that I had recently with some of the priests our our Archdiocese. It was an experience which pointed out - once again to me - that the Church is in Jesus' hands, and that things don't always unfold as we think that they should. But that doesn't mean that things are falling apart. So here is the experience.

Some of the priests of the diocese responded to the Holy Father's invitation to come to Rome to take part in the ceremonies concluding the Year for Priests in the Church and I accompanied them. Our former Vicar General, Msgr. Don Bolen, who had played a large part in organizing this trip and who is now the Bishop of Saskatoon was able to come as planned. Following the ceremonies in Rome, six of us continued on to the Holy Land for an eight day pilgrimage.

Part of our visit was spent on the shores of the Sea of Galilee which is still a very rural and beautiful part of the country. As you know, it was here that Jesus carried out much of his ministry. One of the most striking miracles performed by Jesus was the feeding of the multitude of many thousands with five loaves and two fish. It was an event that was etched into the memory of the early Christians for it is recounted in each of the four Gospel accounts, sometimes twice.

There is a tradition which holds that this miracle was performed on the shores of the Sea of Galilee at a place which today is called Tabgha.There is a beautiful church there which commemorates this miracle.

Here you can see the Sanctuary of the church with a nearly 1,700 year old mosaic floor.

In this church,the altar is built over a stone which protrudes from the floor as you can see in this picture. The tradition is that Jesus laid out the loaves and fish on this stone as he performed this miracle. The early Christians chipped away small pieces of this stone to take home with them for devotion and veneration. What was of interest to me is the history of this church which is a story of encouragement for all who fear and worry about setbacks we suffer in the life of the Church.

A church was built on this spot in the 300's. A Spanish Nun named Egeria toured the Holy Land around the year 380 and left a famously detailed diary which gives us much insight into the life of the Church in the Land of Jesus in those early years. She wrote this: In the same place (not far from Capernaum) facing the Sea of Galilee is a well watered land in which lush grasses grow, with numerous trees and palms. Nearby are seven springs which provide abundant water. In this fruitful garden Jesus fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. The stone upon which the Master placed the bread became an altar. The many pilgrims to the site broke off pieces of it as a cure for their ailments.

A larger church was built about a century later with beautiful mosaic floors. Then in the 600's the Persians invaded the country and destroyed the church. All that was to be seen for the next 1200 years was an empty field with no traces of the church. With the Arab invasion in the 700's all the Christians disappeared from the area. So for twelve centuries this place of Christian tradition, pilgrimage and worship ceased to exist.

In the 1930's the Franciscans came and began archaeological work. In the 1980's the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves was found with its mosaic floor intact. The church was rebuilt and now is again a source of pligrimage, prayer and remembrance of the power of Jesus love and healing for all people.

When we came for Mass on Sunday morning, we were unable to use the Church, but the Franciscan community had an "outdoor chapel" on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The six of us celebrated the Eucharist with a large boulder for the altar. This time, it was not the loaves and the fishes which lay upon a large rock, but the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation: Jesus' Body and Blood. The breeze was blowing off of the water and the shade of the overhead trees giving a cool and wonderful place to celebrate the Sacrament to which the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes pointed. It was not hard to imagine Jesus in that same spot with his disciples. That morning we were joined by two Philipino priests, one of whom took this picture for us.

We returned to the Sacristy in the Church and had this picture taken in this place which was dead for so many centuries but alive again with vigorous faith and visited by hundreds of people daily.

Whenever I worry about the future of the Church in our Archdiocese, particulary in our small communities, I remember the power of Jesus' miracle of feeding the five thousand with five loaves and two fish. I remember the story of this holy place in Tabgha on the Sea of Galilee, and I am comforted by this lived-out example of the power of Jesus, Crucified and Risen from the Dead and of his Church against which not even the "gates of hell" will prevail.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Canada Day and the Community of Faith

It's been a long time since I have been able to share with you some of the things that I have been involved with in the life of our diocesan Church. And it is time to get back to work on this blog. On July 1st. the Catholic Community gathered at Blessed Sacrament Church for the annual Canada Day Mass.

There was, once again, a wonderful turn out of people to pray for our country and to thank God for the blessings that come to us as its citizens. I spoke on the question of being citizens of Canada as people of faith. And I would like to share with you the things that I said on this special and important occasion which celebrates our country.

My dear sisters and brothers we come together today to give thanks to God for the blessings which come to all of us because we live in this rich and blessed country. We come here as people of faith, as Catholic Christians and citizens of Canada, to pray and celebrate this day.
We recognize that Canada is a country that is struggling to find a way to see itself in this ever and quickly changing world we live in. We are well aware that Canada has chosen to see itself as a secular country, and as a secular society. This is something new in our history. Many of us who are people of religious faith get upset with this vision of what our society is supposed to be: a society in which religion has been moved from the public places and institutions where it held a valued and honoured position for over four centuries in our country.

Neither can we forget that among the Plains Indians who have lived here for thousands of years, spirituality was and remains an important, indeed essential part of their way of life. The Indian people have lived this spirituality out in public ceremonies and rituals that taught the meaning of this spiritual culture and gave them an identity as a people. We as Catholics have done likewise, as we expressed our Catholic culture with its ceremonies and rituals. The public living of our faith in this country gave us a sense of our identity as Catholic Canadian citizens.

I have a vivid memory from my childhood, of going on the bus to Mass on Sunday in the early 1950’s. The bus was crowded with people standing and holding on to the hand bars or straps with one hand and in the other hand the Catholics had their prayer book and rosary and the Protestants had their black leather covered Bible, everyone staring suspiciously at the opposition; but everybody there, going to Church, publicly bringing the outward signs of their faith.

Then all of a sudden it seemed that the world changed. Canada continued to welcome more and more on new arrivals in our country. Only now, they were not from the Christian countries of Europe, but they are from all over the world. And seemingly, all of a sudden, there were not only many religions but there were now many faiths. Now, deep in the Canadian heart and conscience there is felt the need to respect all who are here and a strong dislike of offending others. And so our attitude changed. Religion was moved off of the public bus, as it were, and people are told now that religion is a private matter that belongs in the privacy of our homes.

Christians have reacted to this sometimes with anger, as in the case when Christmas traditions and practices are not allowed in schools or public places. And as a result secularism can be seen as an enemy or an oppression and is met with anger and frustration on the part of religious citizens of our country. But is this the best way for us to deal with this reality in our country? How are we as Catholic people, for example, best able to speak to this society that is not only around us, but also of which we are members? For speak to it we must.

As followers of Jesus, whom we know to be the Way, the Truth and the Life for every person on earth, we know that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has called us, not to put the light of our faith and the blessings of our relationship with him under a basket. Indeed we are called not to confine the way we live as Christian people to the limits of our bedroom walls. Rather we are taught by Jesus that we are to let that bright light of our faith shine before all people. Jesus teaches us that we are to be a light for our country and our society, a light that can dispel the darkness of injustice and oppression, of pain and despair and can give life and hope to everyone in our Country.

After Jesus had healed the man from Gerasene, who, as you remember, had been possessed by a legion of demons, he told the man to go home to his family and his friends and he said: You tell them “how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.” Here is the mission of the followers of Jesus. We are followers of Jesus today and we too are taught that we are to tell people how much the Lord has done for us and what mercy the Lord has shown us.

We are able speak to our culture with the words which tell of the blessings we personally have received because of God’s love for us. We are also able to speak to our culture with lives lived according to the Good News of Jesus Christ. In the Gospel for this Mass, Jesus speaks the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the poor is spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
The word “blessed” conveys the meaning of happiness and joy. Many people in our society see religion as a bad thing because of the actions of religious extremists. They see religion as a dangerous power urging people to acts of violence and terrorism. They see religion as bringing about extremism in political life. They see religion as endangering people’s freedom.

Is it not our duty, to God who loves and saves us, to show our society that our faith is not threatening but rather is “Good News”? As our society seeks a way to be just, fair and welcoming, do we not have something to say to those around us that will be helpful.

Jesus teaches us then that our friends and neighbours need to see in us people who are poor in spirit, people who in the sad and tragic times of life find comfort and peace from God, people who hunger and thirst for what is just and right. Our neighbours need to see in us who are Catholic people, people who are merciful in our dealings with them, people who make peace rather than cause division, prejudice and violence. And our neighbours need to see in us people who will not give in when the going gets tough, but remain faithful to the Good News entrusted to us. People need to see us as “blessed”, as joyful people whose lives have a special happiness, joy and peace because of our faith and our relationship with God.

In this way we can truly be Jesus’ witnesses. In this way we carry out Jesus direction to tell people “how much the Lord has done for us, and what mercy he has shown us.” And in this way we people of religious faith can be good news for our Country.

May God bless this land of Canada and all of its people. Amen.