A corporal work of mercy.

A corporal work of mercy.
Click on photo for this corporal work of mercy!

Sunday 17 October 2010

St. André Bessette, Ora pro nobis.

St. André Bessette of Mount Royal

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday urged Canadian Catholics to follow the example of St. Andre Bessette, the man better known to Montrealers as Brother Andre.

Friend to the poor and sick, founder of Montreal's St. Joseph's Oratory, and a man once dubbed the Miracle Man of Montreal, Bessette officially joined the sainthood along with five others during an elaborate ceremony in St Peter's Square.

Bessette "knew suffering and poverty very early in life," Pope Benedict said in a homily before an estimated 50,000 pilgrims from around the world, gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Born to an extremely poor family in St. Gregoire, southeast of Montreal, Bessette was orphaned at age 12 and drifted for years as an illiterate, unskilled worker. In 1870, he joined the Congregation of Holy Cross, which reluctantly accepted him and assigned him to a lowly job at the reception area of College Notre Dame in Cote des Neiges.

His early-life difficulties "led him to turn to God for prayer and an intense interior life," Pope Benedict said. "Doorman at College Notre Dame in Montreal, he showed boundless charity and did everything possible to soothe the despair of those who confided in him."

The diminutive lay brother "was the witness of many healings and conversions. 'Do not try to have your trials taken away from you,' he said, 'rather, ask for the grace to endure them,' " Pope Benedict added.

"For him, everything spoke of God and His presence.

"May we, following his example, search for God with simplicity to discover Him always present in the core of our lives. May the example of Brother Andre inspire Canadian Chrisltian life."

For the estimated 5,000 people here to celebrate Brother Andre's sainthood, Sunday's event was a long time coming. His devotees have been pressing the church for canonization since 1937, the year Brother Andre died.

When the gates to St. Peter's opened at 8 a.m. (2 a.m. Montreal time), the lines were already long, with many groups of pilgrims singing hymns to pass the time.

Those here for Brother Andre were easy to spot: they wore white scarves around their necks bearing images of Brother Andre and St. Joseph's oratory, along with the words: "A brother, a friend, a saint."

Security was tight. Bags were sent through x-ray machines and pilgrims were checked by metal detectors.

The five other new saints are: Mother Mary MacKillop, Australia's first saint; Stanislaw Soltys, a 15th-century Polish priest; Italian nuns Giulia Salzano and Battista Varano; and Spanish nun Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola.

Saturday 16 October 2010

A look back...

Originally posted, October 16, 2006


+ Martha Joan Stephen Domet +

August 15, 1915 - October 16, 2006


Four years ago today, in her 92nd year, my mother was called home to the LORD. She was a woman of great faith in God and taught many lessons to all those who came into contact with her. This was especially true in her last few years. She suffered the loss of her first grandson and then her first son from cancer and bore much physical suffering with faith, trust and humility.

Today, October 16 according to the calendar for the usus antiquior or the Traditional Latin Mass calendar is the Feast of St. Hedwig a medieval Polish duchess who died on October 14, 1243. She was also maternal aunt of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, incidentally my maternal grandmother's name. So it was then for me a serendipitous moment when at the Mass the Epistle was read from the First Letter of Blessed Paul the Apostle to Timothy:

Dearly beloved: Honour widows that are widows indeed. But if any widow have children, or grandchildren, let her learn first to govern her own house, and to make a return of duty to her parents: for this is acceptable before God. But she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, let her trust in God and continue in supplications and prayers night and day. For she that liveth in pleasures is dead while she is living. And this give in charge, that they may be blameless. But if any man have not care of his own, and especially of those of his house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel. Let a widow be chosen of no less than threescore years of age, who hath been the wife of one husband having testimony for her good works, if she have brought up children, if she have received to harbour, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have ministered to them that suffer tribulation, if she have diligently followed every good work.

The Gospel was the parable about the "pearl of great price." Martha spent her life auctioning all for that pearl. I believe she found it.

A few days before she died we had a conversation and she told me that she was ready to go whenever God was to call her. Often we hear or read of those things that are “unexplained” except by coincidence, of course. To those who know and love God, “there are no coincidences.” Not even the fact that the Epistle read today is one of two from the "Common of Holy Women."

And so, that day started like many others. I woke my son for school, I got ready for work and before dashing out the door and bidding her adieu the home care girl was there to help her get ready for the day and stay with her whilst I was at work.

At around 1:00 PM the second girl arrived for the shift-change. As Bridget arrived she came into the family room. My mother had only moments earlier complained of difficulty breathing and then closed her eyes. Bridget yelled out her name, “Martha, Martha!” and gently slapped her. She stirred and let out a breath.

At that moment, Martha died.

I got the call at work and on the way home it was clear from speaking to the paramedics that she was gone. They were working on her with adrenalin and the heart paddles but were not having any success. I spoke to Bridget and told her that a priest from the local parish was on his way (the Sacrament of the Sick, what we used to call Extreme Unction had already been administered by one of her faithful Oratorian Priests a few weeks earlier.) I asked Bridget to go to my mother’s bedroom and retrieve the sick visit Crucifix from the wall above her bed. (This is a Crucifix which slides off and is placed in a stand; on either side are then candle holders and some of the necessary items for the Sacrament).

When I arrived my mother’s eyes were open and she was semi-conscious. Father Greg arrived a few moments later and anointed her. She was transported to “St. Joe’s” where my father also died, and we removed the medical intervention around 5:00 PM. Just after 8:00 I went outside for some air and a few minutes later my sister came to get me that our mother had died. She had just gone out of the room to the Nurses desk to make a phone call. My sister was not out of the room a half-minute and no more than 5 metres away and mother passed. It was like she could not let herself go whilst we were with her.

So, what does this have to do with coincidence?

The next day I called Bridget and asked her to stay on for a few more days to be at the house to tidy and answer the phone and assist with guests. Bridget was quite upset to be sure. She had been with my mother daily for the last year and often spoke of how well she was always treated and “their little talks.”

She came to me with apprehension that she really needed to talk to me about something.

The paramedics, with all of their intervention, “brought her back.” It took 14 minutes from the time they began to get a pulse. What was disturbing Bridget was that there was no reaction to their work; nothing, until my car screeched in the driveway.

“I have a pulse!” exclaimed the paramedic. It was simultaneous with the screeching of my tires.

But there is more.

Bridget was shaking and in tears.

“David, I had a dream Sunday night," my mother having died on Monday.

She went on to say that she had typically forgotten the dream until she went to my mother’s bedroom to get the Crucifix. Upon seeing Jesus on the Cross the dream came back to her for just a moment. Again, it was gone. The house after all was a mass of confusion, police, fire-fighters, the paramedics, and eventually me, and the Priest; Bridget was now a bystander.

After we left for the hospital, Bridget was alone and tidying up and it was what happened then that she was so desperate to tell me.

At a singular moment in time something happened that she will never forget. Nor will I.

Bridget recalled for me her dream.

“I was standing on a street-corner in small town with other people. We were laughing at this man dressed in a robe and with long-hair. He said his name was Jesus and we were making fun of him. Just then a young beautiful woman stepped off of the curb and started to cross the street; she turned around and looked at us, she had tears in her eyes, tears of overwhelming joy, she was happy, really happy. It was then that Jesus took her hand and walked across the road with her.”

That was Bridget’s dream.

She went on to say that when she woke up from it she was aware that she needed to be more like the woman who walked across the street. That she needed to have “more faith in Jesus.”

I told her that it seemed like a pretty plausible conclusion.

“Wait” Bridget said, “There is more.”

I waited and listened as she started to cry.

“David, I remembered the dream only for a moment when carrying the Cross.”

“When I was tidying up I put the Cross on the end-table over there.”

“Yes, it looks nice there” I replied.

“No, David, you don’t understand, the picture, the picture beside the Cross.”

“Yes, Bridget, what is it?”

“That picture of your mother at graduation.” Bridget started to cry.

“It was her; she was the girl in my dream.”

and this...

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

Seems that not much has changed since 1957. I said to a group just a few days ago, "bad and sloppy liturgy did not start with the Second Vatican Council."

"We do need musicians, real musicians, and we need them desperately, in every segment of our life as Catholics. We are sorely deficient in the proportion of good Catholic musicians in the country, we are sadly lacking in capable trained musicians, and we are apparently in some parts of the country, entirely opposed to admitting that the profession of musician is one that the Church should in any concrete way support, as far as money goes." Paul Hume writing in the Gregorian Review, from an address to the National Catholic Music Educators Association, May 7, 1957:

From The Chant Cafe.

Oh, Anybody know who the Gregorian Institute of America is now and what they publish?

Sunday 10 October 2010

St. Joseph's Church-Mississauga to host Chant Workshop

Something wonderful is happening at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Streetsville (Mississauga) the large suburban city just west of Toronto. Before getting to the meat of this article on formation of a Schola and chant workshop with the renowned Father Samuel Weber, OSB, take a look at these two photos of the sanctuary. It is amazing what a little colour and stencil can do to soften the harshness of modern church design and to focus the eyes to the source and summit of our faith and life, the Eucharistic Presence and the Holy Mass.

Here is the Altar before the renovation.
St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Streetsville, (Mississauga) has announced a Chant workshop.

Fr. Samuel Weber, OSB will be hosting a workshop on Gregorian Chant on November 5th and 6th at St Joseph's Church in Mississauga. On November 5th, the agenda will focus on introducing Chant music to a choral ensemble or parish. The evening will cater to
music directors and those with a choral background. Saturday's workshop will focus on an introduction to Chant and ways to incorporate Chant into our liturgies and Eucharistic celebrations. Father Weber is the Director of the Institute of Sacred Music for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis in Missouri, USA. The institute was begun by the former Archbishop of St. Louis His Grace, Raymond Burke and now Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura.

Father Weber work has been featured on many blogs and web sites including the New Liturgical Movement, The Chant Cafe, MusicaSacra and many more.

St. Joseph's Church is forming a Gregorian Schola and has posted this on their web page:

In 1963, as they ordered a “general restoration of the liturgy itself,” the bishops of the Second Vatican Council acknowledged one musical repertoire as “specially suited to the Roman Liturgy”: Gregorian Chant. There, they said, in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, “other things being equal, chant should have pride of place in liturgical services” (SC 116).

Gregorian Chant has a lot going for it: it gives primacy to the human voice in worship; it sets texts that are, for the most part, drawn from Scripture; it is music designed to accompany ritual action; it unites us to the worship carried out by generations of our ancestors; it is music that has only been used to worship God. We use the Gregorian chant because it fits the ritual well. But at other times, the ritual itself will suggest the use of other music.

Liturgy has always been affected by local cultures, and it draws on the unique strength of those cultures - as well as on the treasure of music inherited from previous generations. What we know as Gregorian Chant, in fact, is the product of many cultures: It is similar, in some respects, to chants of the synagogue, to ancient Greek Chant and hymnody, to some early music of the Eastern Church, and to secular and religious music of the Frankish Kingdom.

Chant is meant to serve the liturgy and the text. We are invited to rediscover this treasure of music and to be invited to meditate and pray with Sacred Scripture as it is set to music. Here at St. Joseph we have two opportunities to rediscover this important part of our Tradition. On November 5th and 6th we will be hosting Fr. Samuel Weber, OSB who will lead a workshop on Chant. He is renowned for his work of translating and adapting Chant for use in English.

We are also creating a Schola - a group of people- who are interested in learning and singing Chant. Under the Direction of Ana Maria Nunes they will meet on Wednesday evenings starting on October 6th 2010.

As an editorial comment: While it is wonderful to have Father Samuel Weber, OSB here, where is our own St. Michael's Choir School which pre-dates the St. Louis school by 70 years? Where is the liturgical leadership at the Choir School and Archdiocese of Toronto? Why is our Chancery office not mandating this wonderful initiative at St. Joseph's by all parishes in Toronto?

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Solemn High Mass-Toronto, Our Lady of Victory

This Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 11:30 AM, my Knights of Columbus Council with the attendance of Knights of Malta and the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre will again sponsor the annual Holy Mass in honour of Our Lady of Victory (of the Rosary) in the commemoration of the European victory at the Battle of Lepanto over the attempted Islamic Caliphate by the Ottoman Turks.

The Mass is a Solemn High Mass, or Missa Solemnis in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite according the Missale Romanum, 1962 Anno. Domini.

1372 King Street West, Toronto
11:30 AM

Father Tom Lynch, Guest Homilist

Reception to follow.

Monday 4 October 2010

Pro-Life arrests at Carleton University

Courtesy of Queens Alive:

The head of security at Carleton University in Ottawa has had these students arrested. This "private" publicly-funded university in Canada's capital has violated its own policies as read by this brave student on student demonstration and academic freedom. If universites cannot be a place for divergent view than what are they for? Teaching people to think? Only as long as they thonk what it popular or politically-correct perhaps.

The condescension, "you can pack up your signs..." is just laughable.

I Canada to a tuition paying student; at a publicly-funded university.