Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Rant, Because It's My Blog - For Crying Out Loud Catholics, Celebrate Halloween!

I'm not sure when this trend started, I remember it beginning at least a decade ago, or perhaps a little before, this apparent aversion Catholics have to Halloween.  I should say the aversion that seems to be present among some circles of Catholics, an almost fundamentalist approach to what is essentially a Catholic holiday.  Instead of the traditional costumes and images of ghouls and goblins, we have to dress children up in saintly costumes, and call the day "All Saints' Eve".  Even though the term "All Hallows' Eve" means precisely the same thing.  I remember during my highschool years, the first "All Saints" party held in my home parish, where ghoulish costumes were verboten, and only saintly attire was permitted.  I also remember one occasion during my university days when I was visiting one of my favourite Christian bookstores on October 31st, and a delivery man had just dropped off a shipment to the young woman working the checkout counter.  As he was about to depart he wished her a "Happy Halloween", and in a very indignant fashion she responded, "I'm Catholic, I don't celebrate Halloween, I celebrate All Saints' Day."  I'm sorry but, give me a break! 

Halloween is as Catholic a day as they come.  It originated in Irish popular piety as a day to recall the reality of Hell.  Thus, Halloween is, say it with me now: SUPPOSED TO BE SCARY.  It is a day to remember the sad fate of the souls of the damned, and that Hell is a real possibility for all of us, unless we strive to enter by the narrow door.  The earliest celebrations of "All Hallows" began in the 300s, but was celebrated in May, on May 13th in fact, the day it is still observed in some Eastern Churches.  It was transferred to November 1st in 844 when Pope Gregory III consecrated a chapel in St. Peter's Basilica to All Saints.  It has NOTHING TO DO with a druid harvest festival.  There is no agreement among scholars that the pope consciously transferred the feast to "baptize" the pagan festival of Samhain, and the idea that the pope would transfer a feast of the Universal Church for the sake of a small group of pagans at the edge of the world seems to me to be rather far fetched.  The appropriation of Halloween by pagans is a modern innovation, not extending any further back than the late 19th century. 

It is quite true that the celebration of Halloween has become as much secularized as many other Christian feasts, Christmas being chief among them, and so dressing up children in secular costumes like Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga, frightening as that may be, is not the true intention of Halloween either.  But to dress children up as saints for this day also misses the entire point of this particular observance.  We honour the saints tomorrow on November 1st, we remember the souls in Purgatory the following day on November 2nd, but this day, October 31st is to remind us that there is a third possibility for us after we die, one we should avoid at all costs.  

I'm going to step out on a limb here, I hope you'll join me, I'm going to suggest that ignoring the true heritage of Halloween plays right into the Modernist ideals that have infected the Church over the past decades.  Today we only talk about heaven, a great many Catholics don't even have a concept of Purgatory or the need to pray for the dead any more.  The generally accepted idea is that when we die, we all go up to heaven, no stops along the way, and you really don't even need to be that holy, as long as you're a good enough person, it's a free pass right upstairs.  This is totally at odds with Sacred Tradition and the teaching of Our Lord in Sacred Scripture.  Nonetheless, good Catholics seem to be playing right along, and ignoring the teachings of our Church on the Last Things.  Halloween is not about the saints, that is for tomorrow, today is a day to remind ourselves, and catechize our children, that Hell is a reality, and it is something we need to strive to avoid by living lives that are truly Holy!

Further reading:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Year of Faith Begins

Today inaugurates the Year of Faith called for by Pope Benedict.  It also marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council in 1962.  It's often said that the Church works in centuries, so we just have 50 more years to go until the Council is properly understood and properly implemented, right?  Perhaps.  Of course at this point in the Church there still rages the debates of the proper interpretation of the Council, with those on one side arguing for the "spirit" of the Council to be held in higher regard than the actual words of the documents.  On the other we have those who would even doubt the validity of the Council.  The truth as it always is, is of course somewhere in the middle.  Unless one has one's head in the sand, it's not hard to see that the process of change and growth in understanding of the Council is still ongoing.  Many younger clergy, religious, and laity are studying the documents thoroughly, through the lense of "continuity" as our Holy Father has called for, and working for a balanced understanding of the Council; working to correct many of the extreme responses (on both sides) that have taken place over the last 50 years (though I must acknowledge, the majority of the extreme responses do seem to have been to one direction over the other).  We pray that this ongoing process of renewal continues, under the inspiration and prayers of Blessed Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict.

As depicted above, the CCCB has issued a pastoral letter marking this auspicious occasion entitled, The Second Vatican Council: What was it and why is it important today?  The article on the document can be found here, and the document itself can be found here.  I'd like to offer some of my thoughts on this pastoral letter.  First of all, my kudos to the authors of the document for many of the fine points it makes, especially with regard to the proper interpretation of the Council:

"We see good fruit, however, where the Council is understood properly. This has been strongly emphasized by Pope Benedict XVI, who has pointed out that Vatican II, rather than being an event of 'discontinuity and rupture' with the Church before the Council, is to be viewed in continuity with the Church before it. It was not a break, but an act of reform. For this reason, we do not reject what came before the Council as being outdated, nor do we consider all that came after as inconsistent with the Church’s Tradition.  Moreover, we cannot appeal to the 'spirit' of the Council as if this were opposed to the 'letter' of the Council’s documents. The Church that existed before Vatican II is the same Church we belong to today. Yet it is also true that things did change after the Council."
"Rather than making the Church worldly or 'modern,' the Council’s job was something else entirely: it was 'to overcome erroneous or superfluous contradictions in order to present to our world the requirement of the Gospel in its full greatness  and purity.'"
The letter describes what a Council is, and a bit of the background to why Blessed Pope John XXIII called the Council in the first place.  My critique of this letter comes though in what is has to say, or doesn't say about the four Constitutions of the Council.  The paragraph on the Liturgy, I think, sadly misses the mark.  It does speak about some concerns with the liturgy before the Council, such as a lack of understanding of Latin by the laity (which is easily resolved through the use of a bilingual hand missal), and the hurried celebration by many priests (a genuine problem, but not the worst liturgical abuse out there, especially considering what came after the Council).  As always it emphasizes the "full, conscious, and active participation" of the laity, but fails to explain that this paragraph is to be interpreted primarily as interior participation, not exterior.  This paragraph also extols the near universal use of the vernacular, something not called for in Sacrosanctum Concilium.  Finally the paragraph seems to point out that the liturgy is a constantly changing thing, perhaps to justify the liturgical changes since the Council.  It fails to note however, that for 1500 years any structural changes to the liturgy were relatively minor, and the wholesale recreation of the liturgy following the Council is not called for in any of the documents.

As for images of the Church, triumphalism is bad, but I'd take a little triumphalism over the mistaken notion that so many Catholics have today, that the Catholic faith is just one among many.  With respect to the Universal Call to Holiness, it is true that some before the Council didn't understand this notion, but this idea did not begin with Vatican II, it is present in the preaching of saints down through the centuries even into the 20th century itself (it's a central feature of the preaching of St. Josemaria Escriva for one).  As for the paragraph on Salvation, again it seems to imply that the understanding that non-Christian religions have some value for evangelization was a brand new idea at Vatican II.  Someone might want to tell that to those who evangelized Asia and used their native religions and the truths found therein as their starting point.

There is much more that I could critique, but this article is getting too long already.  Once again I'd like to offer grateful thanks for the emphasis on the fact that we must understand the Second Vatican Council in light of the 1900 years that went before it.  Sadly though, the first part of the document seems largely to follow the theme that the Church began in 1962 with all of these new ideas, and so seems to contridict the latter half.  On the whole, worth a read as we begin this year of faith, but it should be an invitation to read the documents themselves and see what the Council really had to say.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Bountious Bevy of Backlogged Blogposts

Greetings one and all, I took a bit of a hiatus from blogging over the summer, and it lasted a little longer than I thought, I have a number of homilies that will be uploaded in a short while, in the meantime, for those who like to rack up as many indulgences as they can get, you will have plenty of opportunities over this coming year:


Vatican City, 5 October 2012 (VIS) - According to a decree made public today and signed by Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro and Bishop Krzysztof Nykiel, respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Benedict XVI will grant faithful Plenary Indulgence for the occasion of the Year of Faith. The indulgence will be valid from the opening of the Year on 11 October 2012 until its end on 24 November 2013.

"The day of the fiftieth anniversary of the solemn opening of Vatican Council II", the text reads, "the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI has decreed the beginning of a Year especially dedicated to the profession of the true faith and its correct interpretation, through the reading of - or better still the pious meditation upon - the Acts of the Council and the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church".

"Since the primary objective is to develop sanctity of life to the highest degree possible on this earth, and thus to attain the most sublime level of pureness of soul, immense benefit may be derived from the great gift of Indulgences which, by virtue of the power conferred upon her by Christ, the Church offers to everyone who, following the due norms, undertakes the special prescripts to obtain them".

"During the Year of Faith, which will last from 11 October 2012 to 24 November 2013, Plenary Indulgence for the temporal punishment of sins, imparted by the mercy of God and applicable also to the souls of deceased faithful, may be obtained by all faithful who, truly penitent, take Sacramental Confession and the Eucharist and pray in accordance with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.

"(A) Each time they attend at least three sermons during the Holy Missions, or at least three lessons on the Acts of the Council or the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in church or any other suitable location.

"(B) Each time they visit, in the course of a pilgrimage, a papal basilica, a Christian catacomb, a cathedral church or a holy site designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith (for example, minor basilicas and shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Apostles or patron saints), and there participate in a sacred celebration, or at least remain for a congruous period of time in prayer and pious meditation, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary and, depending on the circumstances, to the Holy Apostles and patron saints.

"(C) Each time that, on the days designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith, ... in any sacred place, they participate in a solemn celebration of the Eucharist or the Liturgy of the Hours, adding thereto the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form.

"(D) On any day they chose, during the Year of Faith, if they make a pious visit to the baptistery, or other place in which they received the Sacrament of Baptism, and there renew their baptismal promises in any legitimate form.

"Diocesan or eparchal bishops, and those who enjoy the same status in law, on the most appropriate day during that period or on the occasion of the main celebrations, ... may impart the papal blessing with the Plenary Indulgence".

The document concludes by recalling how faithful who, due to illness or other legitimate cause, are unable to leave their place of adobe, may still obtain Plenary Indulgence "if, united in spirit and thought with other faithful, and especially at the times when the words of the Supreme Pontiff and diocesan bishops are transmitted by television or radio, they recite ... the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and other prayers that concord with the objectives of the Year of Faith, offering up the suffering and discomfort of their lives".

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pastoral Letter on Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Yesterday the Canadian Bishops issued their new Pastoral Letter on Freedom of Conscience and Religion.  It makes a number of charitable but forceful points about the need for the free exercise of religion, in both the private and public spheres, and even gives a fervorino at the end about the need for bold courage in the face of persecution.  Some excerpts:
"Recent international and national events present a disturbing trend of threats to freedom of conscience and religion  experienced by those who suffer from bias, prejudice, hate propaganda, discrimination and persecution because of their  religious beliefs."
"Conscience is not, however, an absolute placed above truth. Rather, by its very nature, conscience has a relation to objective truth, a truth which is universal and which all must seek."

"Believers must therefore be allowed to play their part in formulating public policy and in contributing to society as a way of living their faith in daily practice. When this right is truly acknowledged, religious communities and institutions can operate freely for the betterment of society through initiatives in the social, charitable, health care, and educational sectors, which benefit all citizens, especially the poorest and most marginalized."

"In the past decade in Canada there have been several situations that raise the question whether our right to freedom of conscience and religion is everywhere respected."

"We all need to be vigilant in preserving, in a respectful manner, the religious symbols and  celebrations which express the particular spiritual heritage of nations shaped in the crucible of Christianity. Forcing religious believers to keep their convictions to themselves, while
atheists and agnostics are under no such restriction is, in fact, an expression of religious intolerance."

"Those who refuse to cooperate with an unjust law or practice that would oblige them to act against their conscience – and are not given the right to conscientious objection or accorded respectful accommodation – must be prepared to suffer the consequences that result from fidelity to Christ."

Read the rest there.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Lord's descent into hell

 "What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.
Truly he goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep; he wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains, he who is God, and Adam's son.
The Lord goes in to them holding his victorious weapon, his cross. When Adam, the first created man, sees him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all: 'My Lord be with you all.' And Christ in reply says to Adam: ‘And with your spirit.’ And grasping his hand he raises him up, saying: ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.
‘I am your God, who for your sake became your son, who for you and your descendants now speak and command with authority those in prison: Come forth, and those in darkness: Have light, and those who sleep: Rise.
‘I command you: Awake, sleeper, I have not made you to be held a prisoner in the underworld. Arise from the dead; I am the life of the dead. Arise, O man, work of my hands, arise, you who were fashioned in my image. Rise, let us go hence; for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.
‘For you, I your God became your son; for you, I the Master took on your form; that of slave; for you, I who am above the heavens came on earth and under the earth; for you, man, I became as a man without help, free among the dead; for you, who left a garden, I was handed over to Jews from a garden and crucified in a garden.
‘Look at the spittle on my face, which I received because of you, in order to restore you to that first divine inbreathing at creation. See the blows on my cheeks, which I accepted in order to refashion your distorted form to my own image.
'See the scourging of my back, which I accepted in order to disperse the load of your sins which was laid upon your back. See my hands nailed to the tree for a good purpose, for you, who stretched out your hand to the tree for an evil one.
`I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side, for you, who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side healed the pain of your side; my sleep will release you from your sleep in Hades; my sword has checked the sword which was turned against you.
‘But arise, let us go hence. The enemy brought you out of the land of paradise; I will reinstate you, no longer in paradise, but on the throne of heaven. I denied you the tree of life, which was a figure, but now I myself am united to you, I who am life. I posted the cherubim to guard you as they would slaves; now I make the cherubim worship you as they would God.
"The cherubim throne has been prepared, the bearers are ready and waiting, the bridal chamber is in order, the food is provided, the everlasting houses and rooms are in readiness; the treasures of good things have been opened; the kingdom of heaven has been prepared before the ages."

A reading from an ancient homily for Holy Saturday

Friday, April 6, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mandatum Abuse

As the evening of Holy Thursday draws ever closer here in the Eastern Time Zone, we will in but a few hours time be celebrating the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper.  Traditionally, within that Mass, we see the practice of the washing of feet carried out.  In most parishes in North America you will likely see a mixed bag of men, women, and children.  An appeal to inclusivity no doubt, but a very problematic liturgical abuse.  The Roman Missal uses the words, "chosen men", (in Latin, viri selecti), this is the only place in the Missal where the Latin word vir is used, a word that is exclusive of male persons, rather than the word homo/homines which is often rendered in English as "men" but more properly means "people".  The washing of the feet is intrinsically connected to the priesthood, it is not a sign of Christian service or of being nice to everyone as it has come to be interpreted.  In the scriptures those coming from heaven (cf. Gen. 18:4, Gen. 19:2, & Luke 7:38) have their feet washed.  Before being consecrated as priests, the chosen men are ritually washed (cf. Lev. 8:5-7).  Christ is ritually washing the feet of his apostles, his viri selecti, to symbolize that the priesthood he is inaugurating at the Last Supper is no longer a priesthood of men, as in the old law, but is a priesthood from heaven, a sharing in his own divine priesthood.  The foot washing or mandatum is only recently returned to the rites of Holy Week, before 1955, it was restricted to washing the feet of priests, and so usually only seen in cathedrals, as the bishop washed the feet of 12 priests.  After the reforms to the rites of Holy Week it was permitted to parishes, but was meant to carry out the same symbolism.

For those who think that the rite has changed, or the washing of anyone's feet is permitted, the Congregation of Divine Worship issued an interpretation in 2008, in response to an inquiry.  The letter is given above, the text, which is a little hard to read in the image is given here with my emphases:
The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments gratefully acknowledges your letter dated 12 April 2008, in which you enquire about the rubrics for the washing of feet during the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday.

According to the Missale Romanum (tertia edito typica 2002), Feria V in Cena Domini, Ad Missam vespertinam, no. 11, the washing of feet is reserved to “chosen men” (viri selecti), that is, male persons. This is also stated in the Caeremoniale Episcoporum (editio typica 1984, reimpressio 1995), no 301. This Dicastery considers this legislation clear and wishes to add nothing further.

Should your problems persist, the Congregation would remind you that you write again to the Diocesan bishop who is the moderator, promoter and guardian of the liturgical life of the diocese (cf. canon 835 #1). He would be the appropriate person to contact.
With every prayerful good wish, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ

Fr. Anthony Ward, S.M.

The Sacred Triduum Begins

This evening the Sacred Triduum of Our Lord's Passion, Death, and Resurrection begins with the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper.  As I write this our Holy Father is preparing to celebrate this Mass in Rome.  The Mass traditionally concludes with the transfer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament to a place of repose away from the main altar, in preparation for the stripping of the altar and commemoration of the Passion tomorrow.  The faithful are invited, like the apostles in the garden, to keep vigil with the Lord.  For your reflection, here is the transfer of the Blessed Sacrament from last year:

The Gauntlet has Been Thrown Down

LifeSiteNews is today reporting comments from the Ontario Government's minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Glen Murray, who has openly told the bishops of Ontario what they can  and cannot teach in Catholic schools, specifically that they are not allowed to teach the Church's doctrines on homosexuality:
“I have to say to the bishops: ‘You’re not allowed to do that anymore,’”
Here we see the tolerance of the left, you can do what you will, as long as you do what we say.  Essentially this in my mind amounts to the beginning of the end of religious freedom in this province, in the same way the raging debate of the Obamacare initiatives in the U.S. have signaled an attack on religious freedoms in our neighbour to the south.

Suresh Dominic of Campaign Life Catholics, has observed that the minister's statements:
“amount to a declaration of war against the Catholic Church and all people who support traditional moral values.”
No longer is the separation of Church and State being respected from the side of the state, so perhaps it's time to respond in kind on the part of the Church.  I hope and pray that our bishops in Ontario will realize what is happening, that the provincial government may be talking cooperation, but it's actions are a blatant attempt to stifle religious freedom in our schools.  A rally was held by parents at Queen's Park last week, but I think the faithful need to see leadership from the top, to see their bishop's responding.  Hopefully, the bishops of Ontario will responds as vigourously to this attack as the American bishops have to the attacks on religious freedom in the U.S.

Read the rest of the article over at LifeSite: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/gvmt-minister-rebukes-bishops-on-catholic-sexual-teaching-youre-not-allowed

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Masculine Liturgy & The Church Militant

A follow-up video from Mr. Voris.  While I don't always agree with Mr. Voris' approach, on this subject he is right on.

Sunday Homily - Removing the Externals

Is D&P worth donating to? You decide

Fr. Raymond de Souza, the National Post's priest commentator, in an article in the Catholic Register questions whether it is worth donating to Development and Peace, the Canadian Bishop's Social Justice arm, beleaguered by numerous recent scandals.
"CCODP has a tenuous claim on Catholic dollars because, aside from fundraising in Catholic parishes, they have a tenuous relationship with any distinctively Catholic mission... It’s a prudential judgment about whether a particular organization is an effective means of carrying out the corporal works of mercy, advancing the cause of liberty and justice, and contributing to the common good. As a commentator, I have given my judgment in light of recent controversies. The pastors of the Church have a different collective judgment."
Read the full article here, and you decide.

What's Old is New Again!

All I can say is, amen!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sunday Homily - New Translation Check-up, Part II

Sunday Homily - New Translation Check-up, Part I

Sunday Homily - Speaking with Authority

Hello all, it's been a while again since I last posted, things have been busy, especially with the pastor away for some holidays, and the accompanying break-in and other sundry craziness.  So here are three homilies backlogged from a few weeks back.  I think for the time being, I will just be posting the audio, transcribing takes a bit more time than I have available.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Encourage Priests

I was just reading about this excellent site over at Fr. Z's blog.  Many people probably don't know the stress and workload of a modern parish and all the stresses that priests have to face each day in their ministry and in their personal lives, priests need a lot of prayers and a lot of encouragement, encourage your priest today!

Sunday Homily - Mary, Mother of the Living

As promised, the text of the January 1st Homily:

Today we celebrate the motherhood of our Blessed Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The title of this feast, "Mary, Mother of God" is actually a theological doctrine, that goes all the way back to the year 431 at the Council of Ephesus, when our Blessed Mother was declared, "Mother of God".  It was really intended to say more about Jesus, the fact that Jesus was God, than it was to say something about Mary.  Nonetheless, being such an important feast of our Blessed Mother, I would like to focus my reflections on her this morning.  I don't know how many of you have had the opportunity to surf over to our diocesan website, admittedly it's not a very user-friendly website, but if you can navigate around, somewhere buried in there, is an explanation of our diocesan Coat of Arms, and our diocesan motto.  For those who don't know, our diocesan motto is Mater Viventium, "Mother of the Living" and this is another title given to our Blessed Mother, "Mother of the Living."  Certainly we know that she is the Mother of God, she is the Mother of Christ, she is Mother of the Church.  When our Lord gave her over to St. John as he hung on the Cross, she became the Mother of the Church, but that title is given to her as well, Mother of the Living.  It was given to her by St. Epiphanius (that's a $10 factoid there that you can impress your friends with, St. Epiphanius called Mary, "Mother of the Living").  That title was actually first used, in Genesis Chapter 3 to make reference to Eve, that Eve was the "Mother of the Living".  After all, she is the first woman, she is the mother of all humanity, but then Mary is also called the Mother of the Living, because she is often referred to as the "New Eve."  If we go back and take a look at that story in Genesis, we see that it was Eve who was the one who was first tempted by the serpant, it was Eve's disobedience that caused Adam to sin, to bring Original Sin into the world, to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  So just as Eve first was disobedient and led Adam into sin, so first Mary was obedient to God's plan, before our Lord's obedience in his sacrifice of himself on the Cross.  Christ is often referred to as the New Adam, because he revereses Adam's sin, and Mary the New Eve, because she reverses the disobedience of the first Eve.  As we know, Mary was obedient to God throughout her entire life, at every moment of her life she did God's will, she never committed a single sin throughout her entire life.  Her obedience was most important though, at that moment when the Angel appeared to her, and the Angel of the Lord told her that she would become the Mother of God.  Nevertheless, she still had the free choice, she could have said "no".  She could have said, "I don't want to be a part of it, I don't understand, I'm afraid, I can't do this" but of course she was perfectly obedient in all things, and so she did say "Yes, let it be done to me according to your word."  Through that act of obedience to God's will, she became the Mother of Christ, and she became the New Eve, the Mother of all the Living.  Her role as mother, of course, doesn't end with that, her role as mother continues.  She loves each and every one of us with a mother's love, she loves the whole world, each and every person with a mother's love, not just the members of her Son's body, the members of the Church.  So we are invited, we are encouraged to turn to her in our times of need.  Mary's intercession is certainly very powerful.  I myself have to confess being a bit of a late comer to Marian devotion, there was not much Marian devotion practiced at home when I was growing up, but I have come to discover in my life, on a few occasions turning to our Blessed Mother, that her intercession is indeed very, very powerful, and very effective.  It might be a very simplistic way to say it, but, if we have Mary on our side, then we cannot fail; that what seems almost impossible, suddenly becomes almost easy if we have our Blessed Mother on our side.  She wants to help us, she wants to show us that mother's love, that she has for each and every one of us, she wants us to turn to her, so she can lead us to her Son.  So as we begin this new year, 2012, we commend our Parish, our families, our friends, our Diocese, and indeed the whole world to the prayers and the intercession of our Blessed Mother; Mary, Mother of the God, Mary, Mother of the Living, that she might continue to show us a mother's love, that she might continue to intercede for us, that we might know the grace and power, and forgiveness and mercy of her Son.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Homily - The Voice of God

Hello folks, sorry for the lack of posts, I've been a bit under the weather the last little while.  In fact if you listen closely you'll probably hear me cough a couple of times during this homily.  Still intend to put the full text up for the homilies later this week.  God's blessings for the week to come.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Today the Holy Father, on the Solemnity of the Epiphany, has annouced the creation of several new Cardinals, including His Grace Archbishop Collins of Toronto, this is a first for a priest of the Great and Glorious Diocese of Hamilton, and a first for St. Peter's Seminary (which both the Archbishop and I attended, though quite some time apart).  Here is the text of the press release from the Archdiocese:

TORONTO (January 6, 2012) – This morning following Mass at the Vatican, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, announced that His Grace, Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, will be elevated to the College of Cardinals, an international group of principal advisors to the Pontiff.

Archbishop Collins commented on his appointment:

“I am deeply honoured that the Holy Father has called me to be a member of the College of Cardinals. I am grateful for the trust he has placed in me, and recognize this honour as a sign of his esteem for the role of Canada and of the Archdiocese of Toronto in the universal Church. I ask the people of the Archdiocese, whom I am privileged to serve as bishop, and all people in the community, to pray for me and for all who serve Our Lord through ministry in the Church."

Born and raised in Guelph, Ontario, Thomas Collins was ordained a priest in 1973. Pope John Paul II named him Bishop of St. Paul, Alberta in 1997 and Archbishop of Edmonton in 1999. Pope Benedict later appointed him as the 10th archbishop of Toronto on December 16, 2006.

The formal consistory, at which the new cardinals will be created, will take place February 18-19 in Rome. Cardinal-designate Collins will become the fourth cardinal in the 110-year history of the Archdiocese of Toronto and the 16th cardinal in the history of the Roman Catholic Church in Canada.

The College of Cardinals is convened at the discretion of the Holy Father to discuss issues of significance – most members serve on committees covering a variety of matters. When the papacy is vacant (ie. death of the pope), all cardinals under the age of 80 gather in Rome for a closed meeting, called a conclave, to elect a new pope.

The Archdiocese of Toronto is Canada’s largest diocese, stretching from Toronto north to Georgian Bay and from Oshawa to Mississauga. It is home to 1.9 million Catholics and 225 churches, with Mass celebrated in more than 30 different languages each week.

Photos and biographical information regarding Archbishop Collins’ appointment to the College of Cardinals can be found online at: http://www.archtoronto.org/



Neil MacCarthy – Director, Public Relations & Communications, Archdiocese of Toronto
Phone (416) 934-3400 x 552 Cell: (416) 879-2846 neilm@archtoronto.org

Bill Steinburg – Communications Manager, Public Relations & Communications
Phone (416) 934-3400 x 558 Cell: (416) 708-9655 bills@archtoronto.org

Monday, January 2, 2012

Follow Great and Glorious on Facebook

To continue with the new additions to the blog, Great and Glorious now has a companion Facebook page.  You'll also find a feed and like button on the sidebar.  Like us on Facebook and get updates whenever there's a new post, post comments on the wall, share it with your friends.  Continuing to give you more ways to see and share everything that is Great and Glorious.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year, A New Blog Feature

As we begin this new calendar year, I decided to add a new feature to the blog.  My Sunday homilies will now be available in audio (but since Blogger only allows videos not audio files, I'll be converting them to simple videos and posting them to my YouTube channel, then connecting it here to the blog).  For those who still prefer the printed word, the text of the homily will still appear on the blog.  God bless, and a Happy New Year to all!