While most people are familiar with World Youth Day in its international form, which takes place every 2-3 years, many don’t also know that there is a diocesan version that takes place every year on Palm Sunday. This year was particularly special for me, as I had a chance to celebrate it as auxiliary bishop for the first time.
Today I had a chance to have lunch at Nazareth House, a local centre in downtown Montreal for homeless and marginalized men. Despite it being no more than 10 minutes walk from my office I had never been there before, so I was quite happy to be able to explore this work of charity. Nazareth House is not an official work of the Catholic Church, but it was founded by people of faith (as you could have guessed from the name) and has historically been supported by the Catholic community.
Today I had the chance to visit Saint Anthony of Padua parish in Little Burgundy, a part of town not far from where I live. I had never been to this parish before, although I knew the church had once been torn down to make way for an expressway, leaving only a parish centre with a small worship space. I suppose the parish could have been closed entirely, but many felt it was important to have a church presence in Little Burgundy.
This dramatic title was the name given by the Concordia University Catholic Students Association for a talk they asked me give. I have a special place in my heart for students, and am always especially happy to encourage those of my alma mater, so I gratefully accepted. Still, it was a tall order. Here is the blurb they added to the event:
There was a massive student rally today to protest the governments proposal to raise tuition fees. The rally began in one of our parks downtown, known as Place du Canada, which just happens to be right next to the Cathedral. I went up on the roof of our residence and snapped this photo (cropped a bit to squeeze it better into the blog).
I know it may not look like much in this photo, but it sure feels different when you are down on the ground trying to walk through the crowd! (See my Twitter feed for more details.)
The news of the appointment of Christian Lépine as Archbishop of Montreal has gathered steam, of course, and this morning was a special press conference at the diocesen offices, with yours truly present as part of the panel. The full press conference can be found on Youtube:
Today I had the pleasure of concelebrating with Cardinal Turcotte at the annual Green Mass, held at Saint Patrick’s Basilica. While Saint Patrick’s day was actually yesterday, the Basilica has a tradition of holding a special mass on the same Sunday as the Saint Patrick’s parade.
Today was the annual luncheon of the Saint Patrick’s Society of Montreal, and yours truly was invited to be at the head table. This was not because I did anything special, but because of my role as a spiritual leader for the English-speaking Catholics of Montreal, who of course at one point were almost all of Irish descent. For that reason, I was asked to be one of two ministers to offer the grace at the beginning of the meal.