This Christmas Eve I wound up visiting a parish that I had never seen before: Saint Théophile, in western Laval. This is a French parish, but one which since its founding has offered English services. Unfortunately they were short of a priest for Christmas mass, so I was happy to pitch in. But while I had never been there before, I was greeted by a happy surprise. You see, my very first assignment as a newly ordained priest was to a parish in Laval, Holy Name of Jesus, which at the time also served two mass centres.
Today I had the pleasure of hosting a meeting of priests to follow-up on the Presbyteral Day that was held on December 1. We discussed how we could build greater solidarity between us as priests. This, however, led into a more general discussion of what priestly solidarity itself means. You see, from a Catholic point of view, priests and bishops are united by a special spiritual bond that goes beyond the simple fact that they were ordained to the same ministry.
Today I had the pleasure of visiting Saint Boniface parish, the community for German-speaking Catholics here in Montreal. The current pastor is Father Gerry Westphal, who is not from Germany himself but does (like me) have German ancestry. He invited me to come over sometime, and as I had a Sunday morning free I jumped at the chance.
Tonight was an annual event that I always look forward to: the Cardinal’s Christmas Wishes party with the English-speaking sector. This gathering is part of a series that the Archbishop does every December, visiting the different regions of the diocese, as well as with the religious orders and the English-speaking sector. As auxiliary bishop, I will be going with the Cardinal to every event this year, but for this particular evening I am also the host.
This evening I had the pleasure of addressing a group of 40+ men of all ages gathered at Saint David church for a yearly men’s retreat. This event is organized by a local Knights of Columbus council, but is open to more than just Knights. I spoke to them on what I believe to be certain fundamental realities necessary to building a healthy spirituality for men.
Today I had the pleasure of a visit from two representatives of the Neocatechumenal Way (NCW) here in Canada. Their purpose was to introduce me to this new spiritual movement. The NCW was founded in 1964, and so could be seen as one of the first fruits of the Second Vatican Council. In particular, the Council had called for a restoration of the ancient catechumenate.
This will be one big post regarding the parish visitation at Corpus Christi parish (see this blog post explaining the visitation). Last Saturday I moved my office to the parish, and moved in to the rectory. I’ve been on-site now for a week, meeting with parishioners, parish groups, and members of the broader community.
Back in October I did an interview for Salt+Light TV, which is now available on the web:
While I am still trying to catch up with back posts on the blog, I nevertheless wanted to share with you one element of joy I had today: 10 years ago, in Saint Monica’s church, I was ordained as a priest. Many thanks to those who called, texted me, send me Facebook messages or emails, etc., to offer their prayers and best wishes. The first 10 years have been quite a ride — I can honestly say, I never expected to have had the chance to live what I have lived. I can’t imagine what the next 10 years will hold.
This weekend I am kicking off my pastoral visitation of Corpus Christi parish in the westernmost part of the diocese of Montreal (a pastoral experiment I announced back in October). I have moved into the rectory for the week, with my portable office sitting downstairs on a desk to myself.
Today (December 3) I had the chance to give a talk to our Adult Faith Formation group on the subject of stewardship. This is a subject that I am personally passionate about, and one that I believe will be critically important for our Church as part of the renewal called for by Vatican II, in which all the baptized are co-responsible for the Church’s mission.
Today I had a chance to visit with the Prêtres des missions étrangères (PME fathers) at the motherhouse in Laval. Tomorrow is the feast of Saint Francis Xavier, the patron saint of missions, and the PME’s (being missionaries themselves) wanted to anticipate the feast on a day when it would be easier to have a larger group. Yours truly was asked to preside, and it was a blessed experience.
Today was, for me at least, a definite highlight of my ministry as episcopal vicar thus far: I had the joy of spending the day with 35+ brother priests (the exact number fluctuated throughout the day) to explore together our concerns for the pastoral care of the English-speaking faithful, as well as the bonds of our own fraternity.