The origin of the purple stone

Many bishops wear a cross or a ring with a purple stone in it. Ever wonder why?

The book of Revelation gives a symbolic description of Heaven, saying it is like a city with 12 foundations, each of which was associated with an Apostle: "And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." (Rev 21:14)

It goes on to say that "The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel." (Rev 21: 19a) The twelfth foundation was adorned with amethyst (Rev 21: 20, end).

Meditating on mission

Years ago I was struggling under the weight of diocesan responsibilities as the time management methods I had learned back in college were just not working anymore. I was advised to read the book Getting Things Done by David Allen. I'm not much for following "gurus", but I saw it on sale in bookstore for less than the cost of a movie ticket. Given that I had wasted money on truly terrible films in the past, I thought what the hell, might as well take the chance. It turned out to be a life changing moment as I discovered and applied that was found in the book.

Hip deep in canon law, part 3: our new Official Gazette!

While it went up on the web a couple of days ago, I wanted to wait until today's introductory email went out before announcing it on my blog: we have a new diocesan publication! Welcome to the Official Gazette of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie!

Here is the email I sent out to our distribution list today, explaining what it is about:

Dear friends,

Hip deep in canon law, part 2: the presbyteral council

Yesterday I wrote about my work on a national level in canon law. Today, I spent a big part of my day doing canon law, only this time for my diocese.

The Code of Canon Law says that every diocese is supposed to have a special advisory body called the Presbyteral Council. This council ceases when the diocese loses its bishop, but it must be reconstituted within 6 months of a new bishop taking office.

Hip deep in canon law

One of my areas of service to the Church in Canada is as chairman of the standing committee for canon law of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. This is now my second three-year mandate on the committee, following a first mandate in which we managed to produce new bylaws for the conference (the last ones hadn't been updated since 1984). Now, we have a new project: to update all the Procedural Norms for the conference.

Updating our diocesan sex abuse reporting policy

One of the more difficult tasks I've had to do in my time as a bishop has been to receive complaints, and the most difficult of all has been receiving allegations of sex abuse against Church officials. Some of my work in this area is a matter of public record, but in addition to all that I've also helped work on background stuff like policy development.

The Catholic tradition of the Friday fast

Simple meal tonight. Some Catholics do fish on Friday, but as for me when I cook for myself I usually do pasta (no meat in the sauce). For non-Catholics (or maybe Catholics too) wondering why the special diet: Jesus died on a Friday, so it is our tradition to do a penance (such as not eating meat) on Friday, in union with Him.

UPDATE: A Facebook reader asked the following question: "Hmmm... disn't that get kicked with Vatican 2?"

Short answer: no! In fact, there is no mention of the Friday fast at all in the documents of Vatican II.