Monday, July 7, 2014

Pilgrimage Holy Door and Sunday Mass

Pilgrims are greeted by Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO) students from all over Canada. A young woman from Calgary made us welcome. Check out Catholic Christian Outreach.

Following a walk through the meditation garden which focusses prayer on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we ascended the specially-built Holy Door entrance platform.  This platform will be removed at the end of 2014 and the holy door sealed.  Msgr Bélanger, the Cathedral Pastor, told us that the holy door would not likely be opened again until the Holy Year of 2025 when it is hoped there will be further progress in Christians unity especially with the Orthodox churches.

Msgr. Belanger has entered a copy of STM Mass Book used at the first ever Ordinariate Mass in the cathedral chapel of St. Louis into the Notre-Dame Cathedral official archive of the 350the Jubilee.  It is a symbol of unity and a sign of hope for Christian and Canadian unity. The "two solitudes" meet in Christ.

Judy Anderson and Jane Hodgins after Sunday Mass at the high altar of Notre-Dame.  Masses are well attended by young people and pilgrims from around the world. We met people from the USA, Western Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa. 

There is pilgrimage information in French and Spanish as well as English and I was told there are quite a number of pilgrims from Mexico, Central and South America as well.

The sanctuary of Notre-Dame is theology in art.  The altar is surrounded by the apostles and patrons of the cathedral including St. Louis (King of France) along with the angels and our risen, Jesus Christ, at the apex.  It is perhaps my favourite baroque sanctuary.

Fellow pilgrims Sarah and Jacquot from Madonna House joined us for Sunday lunch and then to the shrine of Blessed Marie-Catherine de Saint-Augustin one of the nine co-founders of the Church in Canada and of the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, the first hospital in North American. 

               Blessed Marie-Catherine de Saint-Augustine, O.S.A.(3 May 1632 – 8 May 1668)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Pilgrimage to Notre-Dame de Québec

Our 2014 pilgrimage to Québec began early on Tuesday July 2, following Dominion (Canada) Day. A long drive through a very busy Montreal brought us to our first stop - Notre Dame du Cap near Trois Rivieres, PQ.

We joined pilgrims from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia in the nightly candlelight procession in the beautiful setting of the grounds to the image of our Lady in the centre of the pond fed by a holy spring.

We went into Trois Rivieres for dinner and, of course, frogs legs.

On Friday we made our way to the old city of Québec whose first bishop, now St. François de Laval, was bishop for all of North America from Newfoundland to Louisiana. He founded the first parish and diocese north of Mexico 350 years ago.  

In the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Québec we prayed at the shrine of St. François de Laval and learned how the only Holy Door outside of Europe was constructed. We then prepared to enter, confess and celebrate Mass to share in the pilgrimage plenary indulgence.

The unique baldacchino over the high altar depicts the victorious resurrected Christ hovering over his blessed mother, Notre Dame.

Later that day and in preparation for our celebration of the first ever Ordinariate (Anglican) Use Mass in the Cathedral we walked down the street to the Ursuline Convent and first school for young women in North America. 

The segregated area of the Chapel for the Ursuline sisters next to the Shrine of St. Marie de L'Incarnation is still in use.
Jane Hodgins prays at the Shrine of St. Marie de L'incarnation in the Ursuline Convent and School Chapel where Maria Baldwin, daughter of Robert Baldwin (first Co-Premier of the united Canada with Louis Lafontaine) attended school in the 19th century. Jane is a descendant of Robert Baldwin.

Chapel of the Ursulines and Shrine of St. Marie de L'Incarnation. first educator of women in the North America.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

350th Jubilee Pilgrimage to the Holy Door in Québec City

Pilgrimage  Schedule

We appreciate your prayers as we travel and pray for you.

Wednesday, July 2          
Travel to Cap de la Madeleine, PQ  (8 hours)
National Shrine of our Lady: Notre-Dame du Cap

Friday, July 4
Travel to  Basilica Notre-Dame de Quebéc, PQ

Saturday, July 5 
Enter the 350th Jubilee Holy Door for Pilgrims
Basilique-cathédrale Notre-Dame du Québec (first parish in North America)

11:00 AM - Celebrate first Ordinariate Use Mass 
in the cathedral's Chapel of St. Louis.

Pray at shrines of St. François de Laval and Ste Marie de l'Incarnation
(Canada's newest saints). 

Visit the Ursuline Convent (founded 1639) where Robert Baldwin's children studied in the 1800s. Visit La chapelle des Missionnaires du Sacré-Coeur and Les Jésuites.
His children were all educated in French Catholic Schools
(Statue in front of the Québec Legislature.)

Monday, July 7 
Travel to Abbaye St. Benoît-du-lac, PQ
Benedictine Monastery - Visit Dom Charles Gilman

Thursday July 10        
Travel to The Divine Mercy Apostolate, Lanark, ON.,

Friday, July 11       
Travel to Shawville, PQ (St. Edward-the-Confessor Parish)

Monday, July 14        
Travel to Madonna House, Combermere, ON

Thursday, July 17        
Travel home to Toronto

May the payers of Our Lady support us all.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Christian Unity in light of the Vatican's new working document on the pastoral challenges facing the family

SOLEMNITY OF ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL                           STM 2014-06-29

“You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”

In the presence of the Ecumenical Patriarch, His Holiness Bartholomaios II with vivid and moving memories of their recent meetings during their common pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Pope Francis had this to say, yesterday, about the journey to Christian unity: “That prophetic gesture [the pilgrimage made together] gave decisive impulse to a journey which, thank God, has never ceased. I consider it a special gift from the Lord that we were able to venerate the holy places together and to pray at each other’s side at the place of Christ’s burial, where we can actually touch the foundation of our hope.”

The joy of that meeting was then renewed when they concluded, in a way, their joint pilgrimage at the tomb of the Apostle Peter, the rock on which Jesus has built his Church, then joining in prayer, together with the Presidents of Israel and Palestine, for the gift of peace in the Holy Land.

Speaking of Christian Unity the Holy Father continued:
“We know very well that this unity is a gift of God, a gift that even now the Most High grants us the grace to attain whenever, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we choose to look at one another with the eyes of faith and to see ourselves as we truly are in God’s plan, according to the designs of his eternal will, and not what we have become as a result of the historical consequences of our sins. If all of us can learn, prompted by the Spirit, to look at one another in God, our path will be even straighter and our cooperation all the more easy in the many areas of daily life which already happily unite us.

“This way of ‘looking at one another in God’ is nourished by faith, hope and love; it gives rise to an authentic theological reflection which is truly scientia Dei (the science of God), a participation in that vision which God has of himself and of us.”

The Joint International Commission is working to explore the way to fuller unity by 2025 (the 1700th anniversary of the 1st Ecumenical Council of Nicaea from which we have the Nicene Creed which we will profess in a few moments). Pope Francis discussed the work of reflection upon the will of God:

“It is a reflection which can only bring us closer to one another on the path of unity, despite our differing starting points. I hope and I pray, then, that the work of the Joint International Commission can be a sign of this profound understanding, this theology “on its knees”.

In this way, the Commission’s reflections on the concepts of primacy and synodality, communion in the universal Church and the ministry of the Bishop of Rome will not be an academic exercise or a mere debate about irreconcilable positions. All of us need, with courage and confidence, to be open to the working of the Holy Spirit. We need to let ourselves be caught up in Christ’s loving gaze upon the Church, his Bride, in our journey of spiritual ecumenism.
It is a journey upheld by the martyrdom of so many of our brothers and sisters who, by their witness to Jesus Christ the Lord, have brought about an ecumenism of blood.”

This work toward unity is being done in light of the upcoming Synod on the Family which seeks the unity in Christ of the human family which is so much under attack today in our Western secular world of individualism. We see the dubious claims to individual rights over against the teaching of the Church and the good of the nuclear family of mother, father and children which has sustained humanity since before the dawn of history.

To quote from the preparatory document, an Instrumentum Laboris or working document published this week under the title: THE PASTORAL CHALLENGES

“Through procreation, man and woman collaborate with God in accepting and transmitting life: ‘By transmitting human life to their descendants, man and woman as spouses and parents co-operate in a unique way in the Creator's work.’ (CCC, 372). Their responsibility also involves the stewardship of creation and the propagation of the human family. In biblical tradition, the beauty of human love as mirroring divine love is developed mainly in the Song of Songs and the prophets.”

The document goes on to summarize the teaching of the Church regarding family life in the Second Vatican Council, in Humanae Vitae the encyclical on human life by Pope Paul VI. Pope Benedict’s in Encyclical Deus Caritas Est took up the topic of the truth of the love between man and woman as fully understood only in light of the love of Christ Crucified.
Benedict emphasized that “marriage based on an exclusive and definitive love becomes the icon of the relationship between God and his people and vice versa. God's way of loving becomes the measure of human love.” Expanding this in his Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Benedict goes on to emphasize the importance of love as the principle of life in society as a whole, the place where a person learns to experience the common good.
The Instrumentum Laboris offers and insightful if disturbing critique of modern secular influences. The following comment is made about responses to the question of Christain family formation:
". . . a vast majority of responses highlight the growing conflict between the values on marriage and the family as proposed by the Church and the globally diversified social and cultural situations. The responses are also in agreement on the underlying reasons for the difficulty in accepting Church teaching, namely, the pervasive and invasive new technologies; the influence of the mass media; the hedonistic culture; relativism; materialism; individualism; the growing secularism; the prevalence of ideas that lead to an excessive, selfish liberalization of morals; the fragility of interpersonal relationships; a culture which rejects making permanent choices, because it is conditioned by uncertainty and transiency, a veritable “liquid society” and one with a “throw away” mentality and one seeking “immediate gratification”; and, finally, values reinforced by the so-called “culture of waste” and a “culture of the moment,” as frequently noted by Pope Francis."

Pope Francis, in his Encyclical Lumen Fidei, treating the connection between the family and faith, writes: “Encountering Christ, letting themselves (young people) be caught up in and guided by [the love of Christ], enlarges the horizons of existence, gives it a firm hope which will not disappoint. Faith is no refuge for the fainthearted, but something which enhances our lives. It makes us aware of a magnificent calling, the vocation of love. It assures us that this love is trustworthy and worth embracing, for it is based on God’s faithfulness which is stronger than our every weakness.” (LF, 53).
With St. Peter we respond with thanksgiving to the source of all faithfulness:

“You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Msgr Steenson on his visits to Canada

The last two weekends have been full of wonderful encounters with members of the Deanery of St. John the Baptist in Canada.  Trinity Sunday was spent with the vibrant and growing community of St. John the Evangelist, Calgary, where Fr. Lee Kenyon presented seven young people to receive the sacrament of confirmation.  Thanks to the help of the Bishop of Calgary, we were also able to witness the ordination of Adrian Martens as deacon.  Deacon Adrian will be a much-needed hand at St. John’s. He also serves as the ecumenical officer for the Diocese of Calgary, a work that goes to the heart of our mission.
Msgr Steenson with  Cardina Wuerl of Washington

I was also able to visit our community in Edmonton, which has been gathered together by Dr. David Skelton and is now served by Fr. David McLeod of the Military Ordinariate.  Thanks to the hospitality of the Knights of Columbus, the community has a convenient central location in which to worship.  It has great potential.

On Corpus Christi Sunday I was in Toronto, at the French parish of Sacré-Coeur, where the Ordinariate community of St. Thomas More assembles.  Under the able pastoral leadership of Fr. John Hodgins, the Ordinariate’s mission in Toronto is laying good foundations and is beginning to grow.  The community is blessed already with a truly outstanding musical identity.  We celebrated the Feast of the patron, St. Thomas More, with a glorious mass setting composed in his honor.  Our noble choral patrimony has found a powerful witness in Toronto.

There is so much to be thankful for, eh?  And as a special treat last weekend, Fr. Kenyon took me to visit the set of the television series, “Fargo,” which for some reason is being filmed in Calgary near St. John’s.  We two priests were mistaken for actors.  I bet we could come up with a good screenplay!