December 2006


No, the correct response is not “gesundheit”! This is the name of the young Innu girl I met on the way back to Montreal. And quite the trip it was.

I left the parish around 8 am, and hopped on the back of a 4-wheel ATV to get to the helipad. I got to sit in the front of the helicopter, right next to the pilot, so I got a great view of the landscape. We touched down on the other side of the river, where the next step was to wait for the plane.

(Book review) The Catholic Home: Celebrations and Traditions for Holidays, Feast Days, and Every Day

Thank God for converts to the faith — they bring a fresh energy and perspective to our ancient Catholic tradition. Meredith Gould is one such person, a convert from Judaism, who took a look at the how the faith is lived in our homes and saw that something is missing. But rather than just bemoan the situation, she decided to be part of the solution and wrote “The Catholic Home”, a guide to living the faith throughout the year so that our celebrations of faith don’t stop at the church door, but flow into our homes.

Not your average Christmas meal

Just wanted to wish all my blog readers a very merry Christmas, and here’s hoping 2007 will be a blessed you for all of you!

We had our last Christmas mass this morning at 11 am, with a boys choir singing. Their music was…well, let’s just say it brought a tear to my eye. Ah well, they tried hard. Afterwards was Christmas lunch for myself and Sr. Reine. Now I’ve eaten a lot of different foods in my lifetime, but this one was new: wild meat. Caribou, to be exact.

A white Christmas!

I went on a Montreal webcam this morning, and the streets looked absolutely bare of snow. I then looked out the window here in St. Augustine, and it was falling from the sky. I think we got up around 3-4 inches overnight, which is a good thing: not only is it pretty, but it will help the snowmobiles get some traction. Funny, in Montreal, snow causes traffic to slow down, but here it helps it speed up!

Out on the river

Today we visited more homes, as planned, including a senior’s residence. Sister estimates that about 40 people have received the anointing in the last couple of days. Not bad, if you ask me! And I’ve done so much chatting I’m actually starting to pick up the local accent!

Anointing of the Sick

This evening I had a chance to preside what is called a “ritual mass” where some other sacrament (or significant sacramental) is included. Examples of this include a mass with a wedding, a mass with baptism, confirmation, orders, etc., or in this case, a mass with the anointing of the sick. While I have presided this sacrament many times, this was the first time that I did so with this specific intention, and it worked out very well.

Greetings from St. Augustine!

I headed out the door yesterday morning at 5 am and hopped into a cab to get to Dorval airport. From there it was Air Labrador all the way, first to Sept-Iles via Quebec on a 40-seater twin turboprop, and then onto a smaller plane that hops along the coast visiting various villages. Flying was beautiful, with only a bit of turbulence between Sept-Iles and Natashquan.

Three basic convictions

Have you ever been in a conversation where you were articulating your point of view to someone, but found yourself listening to it the very first time? Happened to me again today. Without getting into how we got on the subject, I wound up saying something like this:

There are only three convictions that really matter in the life of a priest:

1. God loves us.

2. Christ is Lord.

3. All of history, personal or global, is under the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit.

The future of the Montreal presbyterium

This evening I had a chance to get together with some of the more recently ordained priests, along with our transitional deacons and the seminarians doing their internship year. These gatherings take place once per month, and start with a warm welcome at the parish of one of the participants, followed by Vespers and then dinner at a local restaurant. In this case, we went to the local St-Hubert for chicken and ribs, where a funny episode took place: the waitress came to take our orders just as we were about to say grace.

December 7 is a special day…

…after all, Pearl Harbor was bombed on this day.

It is also the feast of St. Ambrose, as well as the eve of the Immaculate Conception.

I’d also ask for your prayers for Bruce Dore, the brother of a close friend, who will be buried today.

But there is something else important about this day…what was that again? Three guesses, and the first two don’t count… :-)

In Germany

I made it to Germany yesterday morning, after a pretty decent transatlantic flight. I had another short domestic flight to Düsseldorf, but I don’t remember much — I pretty well konked out before take-off and woke up on landing. I guess that means it was a good flight…