September 2004

The three streams of marriage prep

I had the occasion to visit a couple today who are preparing for marriage. I will have the honour of presiding their wedding ceremony some time next June.

Preparing for marriage can be an overwhelming and confusing task for people, and because for most of them it is the first time around they have to turn to others for some guidance and advice (sometimes good, sometimes lousy). I usually try and break it down for people by explaining what I call the “three streams” of marriage prep.

Convalidation? What’s that?

I’m so glad you asked!

There are times when, for whatever reason, a couple is not considered validly married in the eyes of the Church, even though they did exchange vows in some sort of ceremony, whether civil or religious. This commonly occurs when at least one member of the couple is Catholic but chose to get married outside the Church without getting the OK from the local bishop beforehand. Sometimes we priests are then asked, “What do we do about this, Father?” The answer is convalidation.

Embryo adoption

What is embryo adoption? It flows from the problem of "excess embryos" being held in freezer tanks. You see, when a couple goes to a fertility clinic and attempts an in-vitro fertilization, it isn't just one ovum that gets fertilized for eventual implantation in the mother's uterus.

Adoption vs. abortion

I was cleaning up some papers today and came across a copy of the June 15, 2003 edition of the French magazine L’Actualité (kind of like the Time Magazine of Quebec). I had originally bought it because the cover story was about adoption in Quebec, something I knew little about.

As I read the article again I came across different sets of statistics scattered throughout the article. Two of them caught my eye:

Death of a true pastor

I just heard that Fr. John Colford, former pastor at Holy Name of Jesus parish, has passed away. He was my first pastor after I was ordained a priest, and I learned a lot just from observing him. He was a great lover of the Church, and was very devoted to his people. It makes me think of this passage from Scripture:

Another beautiful funeral

The day began with a trip to the funeral parlour, for the prayers at the closing of the casket. I had never led these prayers before, as I usually was at the church getting ready to receive the family for the funeral itself. But because the funeral was to be done in a small country church, others were taking care of those logistics, leaving me free to pray with the family at this very emotional moment.

Saint “Golden mouth”

Today is the anniversary of the very first homily I ever preached. As I was getting ready for it that morning, I remember remarking that it was the feast of St. John Chrysostom. “Chrysostom” is actually a title that means “golden mouth,” given to him because of his reputation for outstanding eloquence. I remember praying that morning for a share of the gift St. John had — not for myself, but for those who would be stuck in the pews listening to me.

Update on car + driver

Well, the car may look ok but the back has taken damage….the trunk doesn’t close properly, which will lead to water infiltration, which will lead to rust and problems with the electrical system, etc. Total estimated cost: $900. Ouch.

As for me, I’ve been having a low grade headache for the last 24 hours and spells of wooziness. It’s probably just fatigue, but I’ve taken the rest of the day off.

Thank God for seat belts and guardian angels

Continuing with yesterday’s theme of living and being alive, I had a car accident today. First off, I’m fine. I’d call it a fender bender, except not even that is bent. That being said, I’m not sure how I got out of this so unscathed.

I was stopped at a light. So was the car behind me. But the next car didn’t stop, and bashed into car #2, which bashed into me.

Living vs. being alive

There is line from St. Irenaeus that I’ve liked ever since I heard it: “The glory of God is man fully alive.”

I’ve come to see that in this world there are people who truly are living, versus people who are simply alive. One is an active verb, the other a passive verb — just like there are people who are sources of action, while others are mere subjects of it.