Today I had the chance to meet with a group of priests who will soon be heading off as pilgrims to the Holy Land. This is an initiative that began some years ago as a way to help nurture the ministry and spirituality of priests. In particular, the idea was to help make the gospel come alive for these ministers who have such a key role (particularly in their preaching) in making make the gospel come alive for others.
Today I had the chance to visit the parish of Madonna di Pompei, an Italian parish located on Sauvé just west of Saint-Michel. I was not there for the whole weekend, but rather simply to celebrate the 11:15 am English mass. My visit was for personal reasons, as part of the pilgrimage of churches I started after being ordained as a bishop.
Today I had the pleasure of hosting the board of directors of the Pillars Trust Fund for their annual strategic planning meeting. Pillars Trust has been a… um… pillar of the English-speaking Catholic Community since its inception, so I was happy to welcome the Board to the meeting room in my residence at the Cathedral.
I had a chance this evening to attend the annual Friendship Dinner of the Intercultural Dialogue Institute here in Montreal. Founded by Turkish Muslims, this Institute seeks to promote good relations between people of different religions and cultures. Among their many activities are these special dinners means to encourage friendship between people from varied backgrounds.
Today I had the pleasure of hosting some visitors from NET Ministries Canada, among them being Joe Vogel, the Executive Director. They came because they wanted to understand the Quebec milieu a bit better. We discussed a great many elements of Quebec history and culture, and among those subjects was the Quebec reality surrounding charitable giving. Simply put, statistics regularly demonstrate that Quebecers rank quite poorly as donors to charity.
Back in November I posted about the first meeting I hosted of the Ad hoc sub-committee for missions of the AECQ. Since then the members of our sub-committee have been working like busy beavers, trying to develop a model of leadership that will help priests coming from foreign lands make an effective contribution here in the Quebec milieu.
One element of my episcopal ministry I have not yet experienced is confirmation season. Yes, I have done confirmations before, but confirmation season is that experience on a grand scale. Normally confirmations are celebrated in a period roughly corresponding to that of the Easter season — in my case, it looks like it will start on the 3rd Sunday of Easter, and go until mid-June (well past Pentecost). Pretty much every weekend I will be in a different parish, and in some cases I will be in 2 or 3 parishes for celebrations on Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday.
This past week much of the Christian world has been celebrating the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This evening here in Montreal we had the annual major gathering at Saint Joseph’s Oratory, organized by a local association of Christians from the Middle East (particularly Catholic and Orthodox). Yours truly was present, helping to represent the Roman Catholic Archdiocese (Latin Rite). When the ceremony was over, there were several photos taken in the sacristy. This is me with a group of Coptic Orthodox clerics and faithful.
This past week I’ve been undertaking a pastoral visit to Saint Edmund of Canterbury parish.
Montreal has a new priest! Many congratulations to Father Jason Piper, ordained January 20, 2012. He has been appointed as parochial vicar at Saint Patrick parish in downtown Montreal, where he was doing his stage. A fact I just realised: he will be our first priest to be ordained since the new translation of the liturgy was introduced last December. May he always do so with joy, conviction and reverence.
The following is the text of the homily preached by Cardinal Turcotte:
My dear brothers and sisters,
Today I had the chance to visit the parish of Saint Suzanne in Pierrefonds East. This visit was part of the tour of parishes I began shortly after being ordained a bishop. Regular readers may recall that, as I was preparing for the ordination, I had felt a call to visit the parishes that had been an important part of my faith and vocational journey. Saint Suzanne was certainly one such place: this was my parish in Montreal when I was growing up, up until I became a teenager and my family moved a bit further west.
Today I had the honour of attending the wedding of Julie Mancini and Mike Robichaud at Saint Thomas à Becket parish in Pierrefonds. I only met Mike for the first time at the wedding, but I have known Julie for many years, as I was a priest at that parish from 2002-2005, and she was a parishioner. We got to know one another especially well through World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne, Germany, as part of the same pilgrim group.
This evening after my usual office work I headed over to the new print shop for PGV Media, a printing company owned by my friend Alain Baron. Alain had helped me out a great deal with my souvenir and thank-you cards from my ordination, and during one of our conversations the idea of blessing his new place of business came up. We Catholics are big into blessings, and the official ritual book for blessings contains a great variety of possiblities, including the blessing of places of work. So why not?