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Showing posts from February, 2013

I’m simply a pilgrim': Pope Benedict XVI

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“At this hour – 20.00 Rome time, 28th of  February 2013, 2.00pm Canadian time – the Chair of Peter, the Holy See of Rome, is vacant upon the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.”

I sit at my computer and type, occasionally looking at the snowflakes which quietly continue to fall and join the 30 cm or so of snow that fell over the past 24 hours. There is a somberness in the air: it is not a death so to speak but things have changed. It doesn’t call for tears but for a deepening of prayer which says: “Holy Father, we are with you” In my heart, I hear the gentle words of the Nunc Dimitis:  “At last, all-powerful Master, +, you give leave to your servant to go in peace, according to your promise. For my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared for all nations, the light to enlighten the Gentiles and give glory to Israel, your people.”
Many will continue to judge Pope Benedict XVI for what he has or hasn’t done for the Church, for the world. The Master, God alone knows his heart…

Time to get a new umbrella!

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Not to betray my Irish roots, I always carry an umbrella! That is, up until about three weeks ago when my faithful companion of 5 years succumbed to the wind and gave up and ended up in the recycle bin. Those of you who know Ireland know that on an average day, you just can’t be sure that it is going to rain.  “Don’t forget your brolly!” we call to one another as we leave home—and then we may absentmindedly leave it on the bus or train or in a shop.Here in Canada, I have attracted some smiles when I have used my brolly for the snow, but it seems legit, snow is iced rain, after all! In less than three days, our eyes will turn to another kind of brolly. An ombrellino (the "little umbrella") to be more precise. This symbol will replace the papal tiara over the crossed keys of the Vatican's  emblem" during the interregnum between the resignation of the Pope Benedict XVI and the emergence of his successor, to symbolize the lack of a Pope. If you look closely, you will f…

"I will never abandon the Church!"

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Pope Benedict XVI's farewell Angelus:
24th of February 2013

Dear brothers and sisters!

On the second Sunday of Lent, the liturgy always presents us with the Gospel of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The evangelist Luke places particular emphasis on the fact that Jesus was transfigured as he prayed: his is a profound experience of relationship with the Father during a sort of spiritual retreat that Jesus lives on a high mountain in the company of Peter, James and John , the three disciples always present in moments of divine manifestation of the Master (Luke 5:10, 8.51, 9.28).The Lord, who shortly before had foretold his death and resurrection (9:22), offers his disciples a foretaste of his glory. And even in the Transfiguration, as in baptism, we hear the voice of the Heavenly Father, "This is my Son, the Chosen One listen to him" (9:35). The presence of Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets of the Old Covenant, it is highly significant: the whole h…

Leaving a legacy

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Recently I spent a few days in Montreal with my sisters in community, it was long overdue. So there I was  waiting at the bus station to get the bus back to Ottawa. It is currently ‘Reading Week’ also known as ‘break’, ‘writing your essays’ Week, ‘sleeping ‘ week, ‘escaping home’ week and many other titles! If you could see me at that moment, I don’t know if you’d laugh or cry or sign me in somewhere. Let me explain! I arrived half an hour early for my bus only to find over a hundred and fifty people already waiting. Along comes a bus (yes, singular!) which happens to be a 35 seater. So here I am waiting for the next bus, just another 50 minutes or so to wait or so I think. Next bus comes along on the hour....we still don’t make it on....wait another hour! Santa pazienza! Not wanting to waste time (it is study week after all!), I got a cup of coffee and am here sitting on the ground reading ‘Summorum Pontificum’, the Pope’s motu proprio on the Extraordinary Form of celebration of the…

My Side of the Confessional: What Is It Like for a Priest?

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This is not a post written by myself (obviously...the title gives it away!)...however given that we are in the season of Lent, it is the opportune time to try and go to Confession. Many people are afraid to go because they are afraid of what the priest will think of him. Here, a priest called Fr. Mike Schmitz, shares what he sees during Confession! Read on...it is beautiful!
"I was once riding in a shuttle-bus with a number of older folks on the way from an airport. They noticed that I was a priest and started asking questions about it. “Do you do all of the priest stuff?” “Yep.” “Even the Confession thing?” “Yeah. All the time.”

One older lady gasped, “Well, I think that that would be the worst. It would be so depressing; hearing all about people’s sins.”

I told them that it was the exact opposite. There is almost no greater place to be than with someone when they are coming back to God. I said, “It would depressing if I had to watch someone leave God; I get to be with them when t…

Prove yourself!

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Today as Church we celebrate the first Sunday of Lent and we enter consciously with Jesus into the desert. We take up the journey to wander for "forty days and forty nights" (a number recalling the experiences of Moses and Elijah, also the 40 years of Israel's testing in the desert after the Exodus).We turn our attention to Jesus and the battle He undertakes with Satan. Upon reflection, I come to the conclusion that the devil ultimately challenges Jesus in all the temptations to prove his identity. Prove yourself!

Huddling in caves at night and fragile from a lack of sleep, Jesus was extremely hungry and soon noticed the countless flat, rounded stones littering the desert floor. One stone in particular resembled the loaves of bread baked by his mother in his Nazareth home. Satan noticed it too and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread." Satan's request for a miracle would seem a perfect way for Jesus to show that he was i…

From Ashes to Alleluia: the Lenten journey

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I am resposting this talk that I gave in our Chapel last Lent. Enjoy!

Dear God, we know that every journey begins with a first step. Be with us this evening as we take another step in our Lenten journey. We began this journey with the sign of ashes on our forehead, reminding us that this is no ordinary walk. We move one step forward in the promise of your light. We seek new meaning in the Easter that awaits us all. But first, we must walk with you to Jerusalem, to Calvary, to the Tomb and beyond.

Every religious experience begins with emptiness. We began the Lenten journey in the desert and we continue to walk, making the journey from Ashes to Alleluia.On Ash Wednesday we came forward to have ashes placed on our forehead and to hear the words “Remember you are dust and to dust you will return”. The burnt palms, symbol of the joy and majesty which accompanied Jesus during his entrance into Jerusalem, become the dust and ashes placed on our forehead. Burned into our collective memory is…

Love is in the air!

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Just a day ago, as Christ’s followers, we began the Lenten journey. Receiving ashes on our forehead we recalled that ‘we are dust and to dust we will return’. A certain sombreness seemed to descend upon us as we enter into the privileged desert time to walk the Exodus journey. However it was almost as if our liturgical journey was interrupted and we  seemed to be surrounded  by hearts, flowers, roses and the apparent commercialism that accompanies Valentine’s Day.

In its continual effort to create a culture of life and be leaven in our University, the Students for Life group here in St. Paul’s decided to do something to celebrate the gift of life and of love in a visible way. Following on from last year, an enthusiastic group prepared a colourful display of free treats including homemade cookies and cupcakes and sweets. We also had a few dozen roses for people to take away for a small donation. A written message accompanying the display read:”God's love is free, total, faithful, …

Carrying each others burdens (Galatians 6:2)

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Well, what a day...I had said after all to watch this space for the 100th blog post! Little did I know that it would be to pen some thoughts at the end of a historic day. I am sure you all know by now but this morning our beloved Pope Benedict XVI announced his abdication of office as the Pope, the first to do so in over 600 years.

The morning here at Deschatelets started out in somewhat of a fuzz, low blood pressure not helping the situation. Here in our Oblate residence the Fathers have started showing a movie every Tuesday to try and encourage us to further our French and to create a sense of community. This week, irony of ironies the movie showing is ‘Habemus Papem’ (note: the movie was chosen last Friday!). However, yesterday being our foundation anniversary and feastday, I took a break from the study and decided to watch the movie in the original Italian. So all this is in my head when my Oblate confreres come up and tell me about the Pope (granted I hadn’t seen any news at tha…

Offer it up!

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Yes, Lent is on the horizon again. I confess I am one of those who every Lent ‘try’ and give up chocolate and coffee as these are the two things which would be a big deal for me to give up. Those of you who know me also know that to an extent both of these things are medicinal (cough, cough!) but every year I make a valiant attempt to give them up. However, this year I plan to differ. My coffee and chocolate will remain but I hope to make an effort to source out fairtrade products and so I can make a small difference to someone's life at the same time as I sip my coffee!

Over at lifeteen there are some pretty interesting suggestions as to what to do so as to undertake a Lenten journey which is creative!  Some of them include putting a popcorn kernel in your shoe every day, getting to know your neighbours, giving up texting and calling whoever you need to talk to, wearing the same 4 outfits for all of Lent, stop complaining and being negative. Some of these may seem somewhat biza…

Count your blessings-Beatitude style!

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May God bless you with discomfort...
at easy answers, hard hearts, half-truths ,and superficial relationships. .
May God bless you so that you may live from deep within your heart where God's Spirit dwells.
May God bless you with anger...
at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people.
May God bless you so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with tears...
to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war.
May God bless you so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, in your neighbourhood, so that you will courageously try what you don't think you can do, but, in Jesus Christ you'll have all the strength necessary.
May God bless you to fearlessly speak out about injustice, unjust laws, corrupt politicians, unjust and cruel treatment of prisoners, and senseless wars, genocides, st…

Raise a glass to Brigid!

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Traditionally in Ireland today, the 1st of February is regarded as the first day of spring though meteorologists would say the 21st of March. Oh, I know that there is no magic switch that flicks on the first day of spring, unleashing new life and green shoots, but there is something about knowing that spring has come that leaves a tingling promise of renewal, and rebirth, in my veins. However this year I will have to wait a little bit longer for Springtime. The ice and the snow still remind us that the weather is not yet warm enough for the buds to peek their head above the soil. More snow is promised tomorrow and next week. The skaters on the Rideau Canal,on the other hand, are probably hoping that the Great Freeze will persevere and stay as long as is possible and not curtail the fun!
However in Ireland today we also celebrate a special woman, the great St. Brigid.In liturgical iconography and statuary Saint Brigid is often depicted holding a reed cross, a crozier of the sort used…