October 2004

A happy problem

For the last 5 weeks (including this one), the attendance at Sunday mass has increased considerably. Our church seats 750-800 reasonable comfortably. Last week the official count at our 11:00 am mass was 903. This week it is 938, but unofficially it was probably 980+. Whew!

Soup’s on!

My Wednesday post was about the meeting I had with our Faith First parents. I just want to say I have great parishioners.

Why, you ask? The next morning I found an email letting me know that there was a surprise for me in the parish hall fridge. Along with a note were two containers of homemade seasonal soups! So today I tried the butternut squash soup, and was it ever good. I’m looking forward to trying the pumpkin soup soon.

The Saga of the Church Roof

It’s a scenario it seems every pastor has to contend with sooner or later: fixing the roof of the church. In fact, I’m convinced that it is one of the key ecumenical issues of the 20th century. It has to be, because at every ecumenical clergy gathering the topic of somebody’s church roof comes up sooner or later……

Challenging confessions

This evening I had the chance to hear confessions at the Montreal Challenge weekend. I always love hearing confessions, and this is especially true for the Challenge movement — I have a soft spot in my heart for Challenge, as I myself learned a lot through it, and I helped found it here in Montreal. It was during my own Challenge weekend that I first met people who fearlessly proclaimed their personal relationship with Jesus, a relationship rooted in love. I knew I wanted to be able to speak of my own love of the Lord in the same “courageous” terms.

Congrats to the happy couple

I had the pleasure of presiding a convalidation service today for a couple here in the parish. They had once exchanged vows in a civil ceremony, but realised that they wanted to invite God more explicitely into their marriage. Their original marriage was legally valid, of course, but because their vows were originally exchanged outside of the Church it was not recognized by the Catholic Church as valid.

New appointment

I got a letter this week informing me that I am now a member of the “Appeal Committee for the Diocesan Tax”. What is the diocesan tax? It is a 9% levy put on all Catholic organizations that have the right to teach in the name of the Church, to help fund the expenses of the Archdiocese. Many people think that in the Church the money flows from the top down, as though the Archdiocese has some sort of machine in the basement of the cathedral that generates cash on a daily basis.

Something wiccan this way comes?

I was chatting with a parent of one of our altar servers today. He wanted my opinion on the practice of witchcraft. Apparently his daughter was invited to a birthday party at the house of a girl whose family is into Wicca. They were going to play wiccan games, cast “fun” spells, and so on. Riiiiiiiiiight.

Gentile and Jew

Tonight I taught my first class on the history of theology. We had a strong focus on the Jewish antecedents of Christianity, particularly the debates in the early Church over how to incorporate the Gentiles. It was very interesting.

The liberating power of forgiveness

The phrase "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us" is one of the highest expressions of the Christian imperative of forgiveness and reconciliation. That being said, it isn't always easy in the real world. I'm often asked questions by people who seek to live this petition, but who are questioning if they are living it well.

Just war theory and the invasion of Iraq, part III

Just war doctrine is fundamentally a doctrine about conflict between states. Now the State is considered in Catholic social doctrine to be an institution which arises out of the demands of human nature. Every human being seeks the greatest good in his life, but quickly discovers that it is impossible to attain without the assistance of others. In addition, it is necessary to establish certain conditions in order to help individuals attain their own particular good. Somebody needs to provide law and order.

Just war theory and the invasion of Iraq, part II

What is a “just war”? Is such a thing even conceivable in Catholic thought? As a matter of fact, the Church does assert that “as long as the danger of war remains and there is no competent and sufficiently powerful authority at the international level, governments cannot be denied the right to legitimate defense once every means of peaceful settlement has been exhausted.” (Gaudium et Spes no. 79).