November 20, 2015 … 11 years



11 years ago tonight, with family and friends present, we exchanged vows and spoke sacred words. Today, we continue to live into those words. Tonight, we had dinner at the fabulous FIRE GRILL, once again.

I have shared before that there are three restos, that are at the top of the budget when it comes to dining out …

  • Fire Grill
  • Rueben’s Smoked Meats
  • Baton Rouge

This short list is a foodies paradise of good eats.

I am grateful that I live in Canada. Due to recent events, in the world, people are at odds, and words are being spoken, that are totally, out of left field. I’m not sure most folks, politicians and leaders alike, know what they are saying.

My tight group of friends are at odds with each other, because of differing views of current events, and what each of them thinks, as to what we should do and how we should do it.

The ties of friendship are being tested. And if a second conversation that needs to take place, because the first one began and ended badly, doesn’t heal the rift, I am afraid that my circle will be broken over non-negotiable statements.

We are Canadian. And we, for the most part, share Canadian values, and for some, that is not good enough. Everybody has a right to their opinions, because of their origins, how they were educated, and how they each decide to live their lives.

No One Person has the definitive answer, because, let’s face it, we don’t. I don’t think a real, tangible, solid, workable answer is possible amid the heat of argument and prejudice.

Let us keep each other in our thoughts …

Notice I did not say “prayers…”

Religion has become a dirty word. People are choosing to incriminate all, due to the actions of “a few.” And that does not bode well, for an entire community of people, world wide.

One day we will see this for what it really is, and we will shake our heads and say to each other …”Was I really that stupid?”

Yes, we really are that stupid.

At least I can unfollow people. And I can turn the channel, and better yet, I can totally turn off my computer when it all gets to be too much of hateful overload.

More to come, stay tuned …


Rome conclave: Cardinals set to elect new pope


B.B.C. Europe Report

Cardinals gathered in Rome to elect a new pope will begin voting later on Tuesday, with no clear frontrunner in sight.

The 115 cardinal-electors will attend a special Mass in the morning before processing into the Sistine Chapel to begin their deliberations in the afternoon.

They will vote four times daily until two-thirds can agree on a candidate.

The election was prompted by the surprise resignation of Benedict XVI.

The challenges of leading a Church beset by problems ranging from the sexual abuse scandal to accusations of corruption at the Vatican bank proved too much for the 85-year-old now known as Pope emeritus, say correspondents.

They now lie ahead for his successor, once he is elected.

Doors locked

Tuesday morning will be dominated by the saying of the Mass “for the Election of the Supreme Pontiff”, beginning at 1000 (0900 GMT) in St Peter’s Basilica.

Conclave in numbers

  • 115 cardinal-electors
  • Two-thirds – or 77 – need to agree on papal candidate
  • Four votes per day, two in the morning and two in the evening
  • Chosen candidate will be 266th Pope
  • He will lead world’s 1.2 billion Catholics

In the afternoon, 115 cardinal-electors – all under 80, as those over 80 are excluded – will proceed into the Sistine Chapel for the secret conclave to select Benedict’s successor.

Once they have taken an oath of secrecy, Msgr Guido Marini, papal master of ceremonies, will call out the words “Extra omnes” – “Everybody out” – and the chapel doors will be locked to outsiders.

The 85-year-old Pope emeritus resigned on 28 February after eight years in office, citing ill health. He was the first Pope in six centuries to do so.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was the marked favourite ahead of the 2005 conclave that elected him pope after just four rounds of voting, says the BBC’s Michael Hirst in Rome.

His status was compounded by a strong sermon given during the pre-election mass, a scathing attack on what he saw as the “dictatorship of relativism”.

The vote for his successor is expected to be much longer.

After 10 general congregations open to all cardinals, regardless of age – at which 160 cardinals spoke of the issues facing the faith and its 1.2 billion adherents, and the qualities needed by their next leader – no clear frontrunner has emerged, our correspondent says.

“Last time around there was a man of stature, three or four times that of any other cardinal,” French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin told reporters, according to Reuters news agency.

“That is not the case this time around. Therefore, the choice has to be made among one, two, three, four… a dozen candidates.

“We still don’t really know anything. We will have to wait for the results of the first ballot.”

Cardinal Angelo Sodano – the dean of the college of cardinals who will lead Tuesday’s Mass and issue a sermon likely to touch on the themes and priorities raised during the congregations – is too old to vote at 85 and not seen as a contender for the papacy.

Candidates named as contenders include Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan, Brazil’s Odilo Scherer, and the US Cardinal Timothy Dolan – though he told one interviewer anyone who thought he was in with a chance might be “smoking marijuana”.

Emphasis on secrecy

Once inside the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday, cardinals will listen to a meditation by elderly Maltese Cardinal Prosper Grech before holding a first vote, after which their ballot papers will be burned.

The smoke that will drift out of the chapel’s chimney early in the evening is likely to be black – meaning no Pope has been elected.

From Wednesday, two votes will be held each morning and afternoon – with ballots burned after each session – until one candidate attains a two-thirds majority (77 votes).

Then the smoke will be white, meaning the 266th bishop of Rome will have been chosen.

Extensive measures are taken to prevent details about the cardinals’ discussions over the next pope becoming public.

On Monday, some 90 staff who will support the cardinals during their time of seclusion – including waiters, cleaners, drivers and medical staff – took an oath of secrecy.

The Sistine Chapel will be swept daily for bugs.

Spirits About …

It is probably not unthinkable that spirits inhabit the churches in Montreal. Many of them have been built long ago. Many religious properties in our city housed nuns and priests and monks. Where the religious have gone, sacred spaces have been re-appropriated by the city as historical buildings and cannot be torn down, but can be updated to meet new specifications.

In the basement of the Grey Nun’s Mother house, just up the block from us, houses the remains of past grey nuns who lived and died in the house, buried in the crypt beneath the building. Once the remaining nuns vacate the property the crypt will be cemented over forever. Down in that crypt were the resting places of Mere D’Youville before she was declared a saint.

My Aunt Georgette used to take me down there to pray and to see the relics and rooms that were preserved in her memory. Mere D’Youville was moved to a crypt beneath the main altar in the church above, until the building was sold to Concordia University. Mere D’Youville was moved from her resting place at the Mother House to another Mother House on the South Shore of Montreal, where the nuns will live. Which is where my aunt Georgette is buried.

I say all these things as a preface of what I am going to write about now…

God has been known to make appearances at St. Leon’s Church hall, during really good meetings. The light comes down from the church and alights on the folks in the room. I have seen this happen over the years at certain points in my journey, and those of the others.

Recently, as I come into the darkened hall on some afternoons, the air is cool and I am alone in the space for 2 hours prior to anyone coming in to read. I like that alone time. I enjoy it. I put on some tunes and I set up. When that is finished I go outside to people watch. Then I come back downstairs to read.

And that is when it happens. And it happened again today. I am sitting at the head of the table where I always sit, Barbra Streisand was singing Christmas Carols in my ear and I was thumbing through a Grapevine.

Several times while I was sitting there, just above my field of vision, I saw shadows move across the doorway from the entrance hall into the room itself. And it didn’t happen once, it happened several times. Almost like it wanted me to see it pass through. I was looking down, but to an extent I could just turn my gaze upwards towards the doors looking up from my book and see it.

I caught myself looking up several times as I was sitting there. Whatever it was, it moved soundlessly. And it almost hung in the doorway. This isn’t the first time that I have seen this shadow move into the room. And it is always when I am alone in the space.

I don’t know the exact history of the building save for the bronze plaque that sits outside the church and denotes its building history. The hall is a multi-use space. Several meetings use the hall, kids day programs and church functions take place there as well. And sometimes wakes and viewings happen in the hall, but it is quite a task carrying a coffin down those stairs into the hall and then back up again.

You never know who is visiting on any given day. Thousands of sober people have graced that hall over the past 75 years.

It is heart warming to be able to share the space with the spirits. I am not immune to this kind of phenomena. I’ve been visited before by departed family members over the years, so when I see it manifest I welcome it.

That space is blessed and God visits us on occasion … it is quite an awe inspiring vision of the holy.

That is all.

More tomorrow. Time for bed …

Kateri Tekakwitha becomes North America’s first aboriginal saint

Courtesy: Stefano Rellandini Reuters photo

By The Canadian Press | The Canadian Press – 20 hours ago

VATICAN CITY – Kateri Tekakwitha ( Kat’-er-ee Teka-KWEE’-ta), a woman credited with life-saving miracles, has become North America’s first aboriginal saint after a canonization mass at the Vatican.

Tekakwitha was among the seven saints Pope Benedict XVI added to the roster of Catholic role models Sunday morning as he tries to rekindle the faith in places where it’s lagging.

Aboriginal Canadians and Americans in traditional dress sang songs to Kateri as the sun rose over St. Peter’s Square.

They joined pilgrims from around the world at the Mass and cheered when Benedict, in Latin, declared each of the seven new saints worthy of veneration by the church.

Tekakwitha, who is also known as “Lily of the Mohawks,” was born in New York state in 1656 before fleeing to a settlement north of the border to escape opposition to her Christianity.

She died in 1680 at the age of 24. Her body is entombed in a marble shrine at the St. Francis-Xavier Church in Kahnawake, a Montreal-area Mowhawk community that was expected be well represented among the 1,500 Canadian pilgrims set to attend the celebrations.

The process for her canonization began in the 1880s and Tekakwitha was eventually beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980.

According to a longtime deacon at the Kahnawake reserve, an event six years ago is widely viewed as a miracle which sealed Tekakwitha’s canonization.

The case involved six-year-old Jake Finkbonner, who belongs to the Lummi tribe in Washington, said Ron Boyer, who was appointed by the Vatican in 2007 to help make the case for the canonization.

Finkbonner was knocked over while playing basketball, striking his lip on a post. The incident led to the boy developing a high fever which landed him in intensive care where doctors determined he had a flesh-eating disease.

The deacon said Sister Kateri Mitchell, a Mohawk from the Akwesasne reserve, happened to be visiting the area and was summoned by the family. She had a bone relic of Tekakwitha which was held to Finkbonner’s chest as his family prayed.

According to Boyer, at that point the infection stopped spreading and began to heal.

Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, is among 17 bishops who were to make the trip to the Vatican, while House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer was also expected to attend Sunday’s mass.

The Ordination of Donald Boisvert

The Ordination to the Deaconate
And Priesthood
of the Diocese of Montreal
June 3 2012
Christ Church Cathedral

Donald Luc Boisvert
Rev. Robert Camara
Rev. Rhonda Waters

It was a beautiful day for an ordination. Donald Boisvert to the Deaconate, The Rev. Robert Camara to the Priesthood, and Rev. Rhonda Waters, also to the Priesthood. The Cathedral was packed. The choir was heavenly.

And there was controversy, a letter had been submitted to the proceedings calling for Donald and Robert Not to be ordained today because they are both gay and in same sex marriages.

However, our Bishop Barry, having put thoughtful prayer to this petition, decided against it and performed the ordinations to the swelling jubilation of the people inside the cathedral.

It was a beautiful service. My camera phone was very handy. I was like damn, I forgot my camera, and then remembered that my phone had a camera… DOH !!! So here are a few shots.

Quebec monk declared saint for his ‘boundless charity’

The tapestry of Saint Andre Bessette, of Canada, is displayed on the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica during a Canonization Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010. (AP / Gregorio Borgia) News Staff

Date: Sun. Oct. 17 2010 9:43 PM ET

The humble Quebec monk who founded Montreal’s St. Joseph’s Oratory was named a saint by Pope Benedict in a ceremony at the Vatican Sunday.

The former Brother Andre, who was credited with miracle healings before his death in 1937, is now known as St. Andre.

The Pope told the thousands of faithful gathered for the ceremony, including hundreds of Canadians, that although St. Andre was poorly educated and working at a menial job, he was an inspiration to many faithful.

“(As) doorman at the Notre Dame College in Montreal, he showed boundless charity and did everything possible to soothe the despair of those who confided in him,” Benedict said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon led the official Canadian delegation to the ceremony.

“Here is a person who throughout his life had a dream, and he was able to pursue that dream, he was able to build the St. Joseph Oratory in Montreal,” Cannon told CTV News Channel on Sunday in a telephone interview from Rome.

“So I think that when one looks at him, and what he was able to do throughout his life, he will be an inspiration for generations of Canadians to come.”

Francoise Bessette, whose grandfather was Brother Andre’s first cousin, was among the thousands of Canadians in attendance.

“I didn’t think this would happen while I was alive,” said Bessette, whose brother was named after the saint. “So to be here today is very special for me.”

In Montreal, the faithful crowded around a big-screen television in the Oratory’s church to watch the ceremony broadcast live from St. Peter’s Square.

His elevation to sainthood will carry some worldly benefits for St. Andre’s hometown, according to Kevin Wright, the president of the U.S.-based world religious travel association.

“When an individual is declared a saint, their shrines attract significant numbers of visitors,” Wright told CTV News Channel. “And we’re going to see that in Montreal.”

He said that while the oratory that St. Andre founded is not as big a draw as sites like the French shrine at Lourdes, it already attracts an estimated one million pilgrims a year.

And Wright said that St. Andre’s sanctification will only boost those numbers.

“Over the next couple of years we could see that double and get up to three, four or even five million people. And that’s incredible.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement that the newly canonized St. Andre was “a great Canadian.”

“Brother Andre’s canonization is an important inspiration to us all, and the Oratory will continue to serve as a central landmark of spiritual strength and faith for Quebecers and all Canadians.”

Premier Jean Charest said in a statement from Quebec City that Saint Andre is a major figure in Quebec and that his “canonization gives full measure to his work as well as to his place in Quebec history.”

All the attention and ceremony would likely have embarrassed St. Andre, who was known for his humility and his faith, which has been described by Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte as strong enough “to move mountains.”

St. Andre was born Alfred Bessette in St-Gregoire-d’Iberville on Aug. 9, 1845, and was orphaned at the age of 12.

In 1904, the Holy Cross brother founded Montreal’s St. Joseph’s Oratory, a landmark church on the northern slope of Mount Royal that receives about 2 million visitors every year.

He became known for comforting the sick, and is credited with more than 100,000 miraculous healings before his death in 1937 at age 91. Two of those healings met the Vatican standard for a miracle, reported the Globe and Mail’s Eric Reguly from Rome.

The drive for the canonization goes back to 1940, when it was started by the Archdiocese of Montreal and the Congregation of Holy Cross and St. Joseph’s Oratory.

He was declared “venerable” by Pope Paul VI in 1978, and beatified — declared “blessed” — by Pope John Paul II in 1982.

Benedict announced his canonization in February after officially recognizing a second miracle attributed to him.

Brother Andre died at age 91 on Jan. 6, 1937. During the six days and nights before his funeral, more than one million people filed past his coffin.

His heart still rests in a small shrine in the Oratory, where he was ultimately laid to rest.

The heart, which is on public view as an object of contemplation for pilgrims, is protected by security systems after it was stolen in 1973. Police recovered it almost two years later from the basement of a home near Montreal.

Brother Andre follows in the footsteps of Marguerite d’Youville, who was born in 1701 and was the first saint born on what is now Canadian territory.

Canada’s other saints are Marguerite Bourgeoys, who was born in France in 1620 and is considered the co-founder of Montreal, and eight French-born Jesuit martyrs who were killed during the 1640s.

Benedict gave Australia its first saint, canonizing 19th-century nun Mary MacKillop.

Also canonized Sunday were Stanislaus Soltys of Poland, Italians Giulia Salzano and Battista Camilla da Varano, and Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola of Spain.

The Bishop’s Man

The Bishop’s Man, written by Linden MacIntyre is a well written book. It is the story about Father Duncan MacAskill, a priest from the Maritimes.

Father Duncan is the “go-to” man for his bishop. The one who cleans up the messes that other priests create. MacIntyre’s attention to detail speaks to his being a journalist. Along with the assignments that Duncan works through, he has his own past, that spans back to the 1970’s in Honduras, and even further.

The way the book is written is very interesting. For me it was a page turner. It is not a straight forwards read, there are many threads weaving in and out at the same time, and the flow of the read depends on all these threads weaving in and out of the story. I found myself paying acute attention to his storytelling method.

Duncan is moved from place to place. His work takes him all over the globe, but never to a parish, until now. The Bishop wishes Duncan to clean up after a “situation” arises with a particular priest.

The story is about clerical abuse. A story that is ripped from the headlines of the recent past. Duncan finds himself set into a parish in Creignish. Duncan faces his past as he takes on his new parish assignment. It is too close to home for Duncan.

In having to face his past, while working in the present, many things are going on at the same time. Everybody knows each other, and secrets are kept in hidden coves and harbors. As Duncan faces his demons he becomes a victim of alcoholism, which he eventually finds himself in a detox for 40 days to clean himself up.

A scandal is brewing and Duncan’s job is to route out the guilty party and find out what really happened. That is not an easy task because of the people involved and the role that father MacAskill plays in their lives. Duncan lives on a need to know basis. And that creates heat between himself and his bishop and the other priests that he find himself friends with. This need to know problem almost costs Duncan his sanity, when the situation blows up in his face and he needs to be extricated from the situation and sent to Ontario for detox and to get away from the media storm.

We find out what abuse does to the men who perpetrate that kind of sin, the effect it has on the innocent victim’s, but the Bishop is not keen to recognize victims, he once tells Duncan that he is either with the church or against it, when Duncan is forced to choose allegiance to Holy Mother Church, a choice he does not make willingly.

Nobody escapes abuse, and I think that is a running theme in the book, from Duncan’s past and his wartime father and mother, through his life as a priest, and into the present day. Duncan has seen his fair share of abuse and he attempts to reconcile his own life in the process of trying to save the young people he meets and befriends in Creignish.

Read the book, it is well worth the time. Linden did a fantastic job of capturing all the emotion and sadness of the situations. Life in the Maritimes is much different than in the big cities, and you get a birds eye view of just what matters to small town Canada.