August 2009

Helping media do their job well

I had to help deal with a bit of a media emergency today: a foreign journalist, whose first language wasn’t French and whose second language was English, called the diocese looking for some info for a story she was doing. Our diocesan press secretary asked me to help out, so I wound up being temporary spokeman for about an hour. This sort of thing is always makes me a bit nervous, but I do believe in engaging the media in as professional a way as possible, as they have a very important role in a free society. We’ll see how it turns out.

Saint Lazarus executive

I had my first meeting of the Executive of the local branch of the Order of Saint Lazarus. The meeting was long but productive, with an interesting fundraiser event coming on the horizon. As for myself, I’m the secretary, so I took notes and recorded the meeting for the purpose of producing the minutes. It’s not a glamorous job, but I don’t mind it, as I believe in the importance of having a decent record of decisions.

Pension fund

I had a meeting of our priest pension fund today. It was fairly routine: looking over the performance of our investments, checking on our conversion rate, and so on. We still have a large actuarial deficit, but things are looking up for our fund nevertheless.

Fundraising for vocations

I had a meeting today to look a building a fundraising project for the diocesan “Oeuvre des vocations”. This is the foundation that supports our seminarians, as well as seeks to promote vocations (especially to the priesthood). For some reason I am part of the team trying to develop a “look” for our fundraising program. The thing is, anyone who knows me knows that I am not the guy to go to for a winning “look”.

Happy birthday Papa!

I was in Ottawa today for a very special occasion: my father’s 88th birthday! It was nice to be with the whole family, gathered around the supper table. I also got a chance to go for a couple of walk with a couple of nieces, which was nice (gave us a chance to catch up).

The 10,000 step challenge

I mentioned in a previous “summary” post that I’ve taken the 10,000 step challenge, i.e. the idea that you walk at least 10,000 steps per day, as measured by a pedometer. I have to say, it is awesome. I find that 10,000 steps is just far enough that you have to make an effort, but not so far that it is a burden. Having the pedometer helps as well to be intentional about the challenge — it is very motivating! For example, today being Saturday I don’t walk to the office, so I went for a walk up the mountain instead, going along Dr.

Bing! What a surprise!

Bing! Is it a sound effect? Is it a search engine? In this case, it is a person: the wife of my old classmate Ian, who is presently in town with Bing and their daughter Chloe. This lovely little family used to live in Singapore, where I once visited them. Now they live in Shanghai, and have recently completed a major trip through Europe on their way to visiting Ian’s parent here in Montreal.

A biblical understanding of financial management

I got together with an old friend today: Keith Donoghue, a buddy from high school and university who is now a financial planner. He’s invested some of his own money to investigate a tool called Bible-based money management seminars. It’s a USA-based program, so some of the financial terminology would need to be translated for Canadian users. It also is coming out of a Protestant background, so our meeting was more about going over the material to see how it can be used in a Catholic context.

Getting ready for class

I spent today getting ready for the liturgy class I am teaching this fall. For the past few years I have given a very particular assignment: my students would hand in their course notes, and I would correct them. The best of them would be shared among the students to serve as study material for the final exam.

A somewhat dramatic mass

This Sunday we had an interesting experience at morning mass. It was extremely hot and humid. As I was presiding, I looked out and saw that an elderly gentleman was collapsing. Parishioners trained as nurses went to his side to see how he was doing, and at a certain point I stopped the mass and went down to see for myself. An ambulance was called, and at communion time I also offered this man the anointing of the sick. We aren’t sure if it was just the heat, or if he had a seizure of some sort (it’s possible it was both, actually).

Eating blind

Some friends of mine are up from Mexico, and tonight they treated me to dinner at a very special restaurant. It is called O Noir.

The food was excellent, as was the service, but to be honest here in Montreal a restaurant can’t survive without these basics. What makes O Noir so different is that you eat in the dark.

I mean really in the dark. Pitch black.

Welcoming a new Catholic

I had a particular joy this evening. Three years ago I had the chance to celebrate the marriage of Charlie Smith to his lovely wife Bernice. At that time, he had expressed his desire to enter into the Catholic Church – but then I got transferred from that parish, and it never got followed up.

Problems with gambling?

A recent pastoral encounter has prompted me to write about a particular problem many people seem to suffer from: problem gambling. I’ve never been attracted to gambling myself, but I’ve known people who’ve gone down that road, eventually to their (possible) ruin.

Blessings, not curses

A couple of years ago I was visiting the island nation of Saint Lucia, where I got a chance to meet a young girl and chat a bit about her life: school, friends, that sort of thing. At one point she said something that made me realise that I really was in another culture. We were talking about her Catholic faith, and I wondered if it was hard to be a good Catholic in her culture.