Friday, September 26, 2008

Canadian Bishops Meet in Cornwall, ON

This past week the Canadian Bishops met in a Plenary Session at the Navcan Centre in Cornwall, Ontario. As you can see from this little picture of the courtyard, it's a very pleasant place to hold a meeting. Many of the windows look out on the St. Lawrence River as it runs through Cornwall and at this time of year the trees are changing into the many colours that are common here in central Canada.

The Bishops meet, as members of the Conference, from Monday morning until Friday at noon to deal with issues that come to the fore in the Roman Catholic Dioceses in Canada. These meetings allow the Bishops to hear expert speakers on pertinent topics, to listen to each other's opinions on matters in the Church and to approve or reject statements that come from the Permanent Council of the Conference and which may be issued publicly.

In this picture from left to right are Fr. Bill Burke, national director of the Liturgy Office of the Conference of Bishops for the English sector, Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto, Bishop James Wingle of St. Catharines, Bishop Murray Chatelaine from Yellowknife and Auxilliary Bishop elect Brian Dunn of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario.

During the Plenary Assembly there were two major international events which took place this year to be reviewed: the Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City and the World Youth Day events in Sydney, Australia, in which a large number of Canadian youth participated. Both were seen to be immensely successful events with positive results for the faith in Canada.

Grand Chief Phil Fontaine spoke to the Bishops in a moving manner in which he recalled the long relationship that the Catholic Church has with the native people of Canada. It is a relationship marked by ups and downs and, recently, deep felt difficulties, challenges and indeed broken spirits because of the residential school experience. Following the apology by the Prime Minister in June of this year, which was a momentous occassion, the Grand Chier said this is also an opportunity now to look to the future and called upon the Catholic Church to walk with the First Nations People in order to build a future of growth and advancement for them. He told the Bishops that the Church has a significant role to play in building something better than what has gone on before. This will require openess, big hearts, forgiveness, trust and confidence.

He stated that the greatest obstacle to be overcome is the poverty that marks the First Nations People and held out a hand to the Catholic Church in invitation to use its influence to help overcome that poverty and foster education which will help greatly build the future of the First Nations people. He told the Bishops that the First Nations People did not look to the Church for its money but rather it influence, experience and commitment for good. He said to the Bishops: "You understand more than any who we are and where we want to take our community."

He said to the Bishops that "we need to figure out how we can work together on this journey. We need to walk together to rebuild this historic relationship." His words were welcomed with strong and sustained applause by the Bishops. It was a moving and monumental moment.

This year has been proclaimed by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI as the year of St. Paul. Two theologians: Rev. Scott Lewis, S.J. and Rev. Michedl Gourgues, O.P. each made a presentation on St. Paul to the Bishops.

Seen here are Archbishop Sylvain Lavoie, OMI of Keewatin LePas and Eparchical Bishop emeritus Michael Wiwchar CSsR of Saskatoon who were sitting next to me during the Assembly. There were lots of reports from different Commissions, committes and activities. Another highlight of the Assembly was a presentation made and panel discussion led by Rabbi Leigh Lerner, Senior Rabbi at Temple Emmanu-El-Beth Sholomon in Montreal and Sister Eileen Schullere, O.S.U. Chairperson of the Christian Jewish Consultation and a CCCB representative on this commitee. This discussion dealt with present day successes and recent challenges that have arisen towards the strengthening of relatioship between the Church and the Jewish Community. This too was a vital and challenging presentation which received a warm response from the Bishops.

Here we see Bishop Gary Gordon of Whitehorse and Bishop James Wingle of St. Catharines discussing some business in the courtyard of the Conference centre.

They were joined by Cardinal Marc Ouellette, Archbishop of Quebec who will soon be on his way to exercise an imporant function of leadership as principal "Relator" in the upcoming Synod of Bishops which will discuss the place of the Word of God in the Church. We wish His Eminence well in this challenging task and we know that he will do us proud as the Primate of the Church in Canada.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Welt Jungen Tag 05 - A Reunion

A couple of weeks ago I had a really nice evening at the McCaull-Lemon home with some of the young people with whom I had travelled to Germany for the World Youth Day at Cologne in 2005. A friend from Germany, Markus Kissner, was visiting and I had a chance to see him as well. The picture below is the group taken at our host town of Waldaschaff in Bavaria three years ago.

In this picture are some of the friends that were made during our days in the Diocese of Wurtzburg. On the right, with the beard, is Fr. Ball, the pastor of the parish who was my host.

I met Markus Kissner at the airport in Frankfurt when we landed. He was already friends with some our our group from WYD in Toronto in 2002. Here he is at Shauntal and Jason's home with Agnes Hoveland.
Ans was a real asset to our trip to Germany. It was nice to see here at the get together.

So here's the group who got together with Markus. It has grown as four of the group have now married and children are starting to appear. These young people are giving wonderful example of their faith in God's plan for their lives and trust in God's gift of the Sacrament of Marriage and the gift of children. Marriage is truly the sacrament of love that is faithful, steadfast, true and fruitful. It is such a gift to us since God dwells in the couples' hearts to strengthen their love and help it grow and deepen over the years.

Happy indeed are all who fear the Lord

who walk in the ways of God.

What your hands provide you will enjoy; you will be happy and prosper. (Ps 128)

Here I am with Markus and Paul. Notice I have the universally appropriate garb on. It was a pleasure to see Markus again and wish him well as he returns to Europe and to his new job as pastoral worker in Switzerland.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A New Deacon!

On Sunday, September 14th, the feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross, the Diocesan Church had a special celebration in the Ordination to the Diaconate of Louis Kim Nguyen. Kim is seen here with his pastor, Fr. Brad Fahlman. Kim is completing his time of internship at Holy Family Parish.

The ordination takes place in Holy Family Church at the Sunday Mass where a large number of parishioners and friends of Louis Kim were present

Louis Kim is being ordained as a Transitional Deacon which means that he will not remain in the ministry of deacon but will continue on to be ordained to the priesthood. Seen here proclaiming the Gospel is Rev. Joe Lang. Joe is also a deacon for the Archdiocese of Regina. However he is a Permanent Deacon, ordained by the church to the Diaconate and he will permanently carry out the ministry of deacon in the Church. The Diaconate is an ordained ministry of service in the Church. The permanent deacon can be married, as is Deacon Lang, who is as well the father of a family. The permanent deacon holds down a regular job as well as carrying out some ministry of service in the community. In addition to this ministry of service the deacon carries out the liturgical function of assisting at the altar, proclaiming the Gospel, as Deacon Joe is doing here, and directing the posture of the assembled congregation.

Following the Gospel, the Archbishop gives the homily and instructs the candidate and the people in the meaning of the diaconate.

Kim then makes a promise to live the life of celibacy, thus devoting his life to the service of God as an ordained minister in the Church. Then he places his hands between the Archbishop's hands and promises obedience to his bishop.

In preparation for the Ordination the Assembly kneels and calls upon the prayers of the Saints of God in the Litany of the Saints. The one to be ordained lies prostrate in prayer.

In the act of Ordination I then prayed the Prayer calling upon the Holy Spirit to come upon Kim the give the Gifts necessary to carry out his ministry. Then the Ordination is completed by the ancient gesture of Laying on of Hands.

Kim then took his place at the altar to carry out his ministry during the Mass. The Deacon has the special ministry in the Mass of feeding the People of God with the Blood of Christ. So here at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, Kim holds up the chalice for the Doxology. Kim is wearing the Dalmatic, the vestment worn by a deacon in the liturgy.

Kim gives Holy Communion with the Blood of Christ to the parishioners

After the Ordination the parishioners gathered in the parish hall for some food and celebration. Kim very eloquently expressed his thanks and appreciation to everyone.

There were lots of people present including a number of Louis Kim's Vietnamese friends.

And I had the chance to meet many of the parishioners of Holy Family Parish of all ages.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Installation of the new Pastor of Sturgis, Norquay, Rama and Buchanan

On the weekend of September 6th and 7th I took the pleasant ride up to Sturgis to install the new Pastor, Fr. Marcin Mironiuk OMI. The Installation of a Pastor is a ceremony that takes place in the parish church, usually at a Sunday Mass where a good number of parishioners can take part.

Fr. Marcin Mironiuk OMI

The ceremony we use in our diocese focuses on the principal places in the parish church which typify the ministry and responsibilities of the pastor: the baptismal font, the place for reconciliation, the ambo, the altar, the tabernacle and the chair.

"Lector: Listen to the words of our Lord in the gospel according to Saint John: “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.” (Jn 3:5)

Bishop: It is the duty of the Pastor to bring the good news of salvation to those who have not received it, and lead the unbaptized to newness of life through water and the Holy Spirit. When you do this, see that they are sons and daughters of God, members of the Church and children of the promise.
Pastor: I will do so, with the help of God."

"Lector: Listen to the words of our Lord according to Saint John: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Bishop: It is the duty of the Pastor to bring to his people the healing power and mercy of Our Lord Jesus Christ, reconciling them to God and one another. When you do this, remember your own weakness.

Pastor: I will do so, with the help of God."

Having gone to the different places in the church, the new pastor then recites the Nicene Creed together with the people present as his Profession of Faith and swears an Oath of Fidelity to all that is contained in the Word of God, the definitive teaching of the Church and the teaching of the Magisterium of the Church. After this both of us sign copies of the Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity. And the pastor is well installed as shepherd of his people.

Before celebrating the installation in Rama, I had the great pleasure of presiding over the Celebration of the Eucharist at the three other communities which make up this pastoral unit. I had a very nice visit to St. Thomas Parish in Norquay on Saturday evening and began Sunday with Mass at St. Patrick's in Sturgis which was followed by a delicious breakfast.

Then we went on to St. Anne Parish in Buchanan where I met some very fine parishioners.

When we arrived at St. Anthony, Rama, the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus were present to provide their colourful honour guard and after Mass, again, a delicious pot luck dinner among friends and even the former pastor, Fr. Anthony Degutis who is springing back from hip replacement surgery.

On the way back to Regina, there was the beauty of harvest time in Saskatchewan with a typical prairie shower to add interest. What a beautiful way to spend a weekend!

Friday, September 5, 2008

St. Mary's 125th

On Monday of last week I had the pleasant experience of celebrating the 125th anniversary of St. Mary's Parish in Regina. St. Mary's is the oldest parish in the city of Regina with much history, including keeping the body of Louis Riel after his execution in November of 1885 until it was transferred to St. Boniface.

It was wonderful to see so many children involved in the liturgy. Fr. Danilo Rafael and his parishioners prepared a happy and well prepared celebration.

There was also a nice turn out of priests to help the parish give thanks to God for a century and a quarter of living the faith in Regina.

Parishioners of all ages and callings took an active part in the Liturgy.

In the well established and welcome tradition, the parishioners joined together to share a meal and each other's company.