Sunday, October 14, 2018

Remembering Fr. Raymond R. Luis, SA

Today is Fr. Mon's birthday.  He would have turned 42 today.  Although he's not among the 7 people who were canonized in Rome today, for those of us whom he had ministered to tirelessly, he is already a saint.

In 2016, using the story of Raising Lazarus (John 11:1-46), Fr. Mon shared this reflection with the Bereavement Ministry:

  1. God's timing is always right, good, and perfect...even when we don't understand.  Earlier, when Jesus found out Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was until after Lazarus that through the events to follow God would be glorified.
  2. In each situation there is a time for truth and a time for tears.  The Spirit prompts which is appropriate.  Martha needed truth.  Mary needed tears.  Some are ready to hear truth while grieving.  Others just need someone to weep with them.
  3. Both sisters made the same statement to Jesus"If you had been here my brother would not have died."  Jesus responded differently to the sisters.  To Martha he confronted her with truth by proclaiming who He was and the resurrection from the dead.  When Mary made the exact same statement to Christ, he responded with tears...not truth.
Fr. Mon also left some questions for us to ponder, and we can use them whenever we engage with Scripture.
  1. What does this story say about people?
  2. What does this story say about Jesus?
  3. What does this story say about you
  4. Who needs to hear this story? 
What a gift you have been to us.  Thank you, Fr. Mon!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Oscar Romero

On Sunday, October 14, 2018, the Catholic Church will officially recognize the sainthood of Pope Paul VI and Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, who was martyred as he was celebrating Mass. They will be canonized on Oct. 14, 2018.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Which Type of Catholic Are You?

The Catholic Church is much more diverse than most people think!  There isn't just one valid way to worship, pray, govern, or live in Christianity.  We can be in union with other Catholics without demanding uniformity.  What we hold as our core beliefs can be expressed in many different ways.

Friday, October 5, 2018

An Introduction to the document Protecting Minors From Sexual Abuse

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops releases new document to protect minors and vulnerable adults from sexual abuse: 

The document is protected by copyright. To obtain permission to reproduce this resource, please contact CCCB Publications of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops by e-mail at

The document is also available for purchase from CCCB Publications.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Happy Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

Today, 4th of October, marks the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi.  Here is one simple verse to walk with today:

Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.  Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor vexation.  Where there is poverty and joy, there is neither greed nor avarice.  Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt.

The Counsels of the Holy Father St. Francis, Admonition 27
Image | Saint Francis of Assisi, (detail) by Cimabue
Originally posted on

And here's John Michael Talbot's rendition of the Peace Prayer.  Enjoy:

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Dying to Love: Transitus of St. Francis (Oct.3)

Photo by:  Katherine Tam
By:  Jean-Pierre Ducharme, OFM
Source:  Franciscans of Canada

Christians are different on death.

Much to the confusion of our world, we celebrate death; we speak positively about passing on.

Christians honour death-days. Tonight for example, we celebrate St. Francis’ departure to what we perceive as a better place, with a dead and risen Lord.
Because, for believers, dying is rising!
Death is, for disciples, the beginning of service, a movement toward relationship, and the manifestation of the most important fruit of all, love.

Over the past few months I have had some dark thoughts around dying. I have wondered: What if the Church changed? What if the People of God, universally, adopted the Franciscan ideal (which is nothing other than the gospel); would the Franciscan Orders and charism become irrelevant? Would we as a Franciscan Order, after 800 years, meet our own death?

I think, fundamentally, the answer is yes we would but in faith I feel secure in this vocation because I also doubt. I doubt the ability of the Church or the Order to achieve the ideal; I trust that St. Francis’ vision and the gospel will always be radical, hoped for, for us all to strive toward, rather than be satisfied in us. I hope, and that is why I can call myself a Christian, but like St. Thomas I doubt. We all know that change is coming in the Church, but some of us need to touch the mark of the nails, so to speak, before we can truly believe.

This week Pope Francis expressed his hope for the Church as she attempts reform and renewal, and oddly enough his hopes were based on the hopes of our Holy Seraphic Father Francis I (of Assisi).
On his namesake, the “bishop of Rome” states:

“St. Francis of Assisi is great because he is everything. He is a man who wants to do things, wants to build, he founded an Order and its rules, he is an itinerant and a missionary, a poet and a prophet, he is mystical. He found evil in himself and rooted it out. He loves nature, animals, the blade of grass on the lawn and the birds flying in the sky. But above all St. Francis loved people, children, old people, women. He is our most shining example of agape,” love.

St. Francis, in others words, exudes an ideal.

And the Pope continues:

“Francis wanted a mendicant Order and an itinerant one; Missionaries who wanted to meet, listen, talk, help, to spread faith and love. Especially love. And he dreamed of a poor Church that would take care of others, receive material aid and use it to support others, with no concern for itself. 800 years have passed since then and times have changed, but the ideal of a missionary, poor Church is still more than valid. This is still the Church that Jesus and his disciples preached about.”
This ideal, in other words, persists. It will never go away. Christians, and especially Franciscans, must aspire to the poverty of Jesus Christ – an ideal we must hope to immolate.
The teachings of Jesus, that St. Francis put above all other “prescriptions”, remain the lifeblood of the People of God. Yet, it is only when dying to ourselves that we begin to understand our Lord’s counsels.

Not as individuals do we come to the truth (and beauty and goodness) but together, and only together are we truly free. It is only when we aspire beyond our own deadly wants that we begin to know the real needs of others and to do what Jesus says to do, to wash feet.

On his deathbed, on this very night many moons ago, St. Francis told his companions “I have done what is mine to do, may Christ teach you what is yours’.”

St. Francis’ life, and his particular vocation, is over. He died; now we must live as called. Christ, in like and purer manner, died and set us free, free to follow his lead, free to discover each other – to serve, to relate, and to love.

May we listen to Francis and follow our Lord’s example by dying to ourselves. May we rejoice in what death has accomplished, and do what is ours, in particular, to do. Above and beyond all else, may we love as we are loved.

Friday, September 14, 2018

10 r├Ęgles de vie - 10 rules for life by Jean Vanier

Jean Vanier, the Canadian philosopher and theologian and the founder of L'Arche communities, turned ninety this week.

In this YouTube video, he laid out his “ten rules for life to become more human” by sharing his thoughts on life and on growing older. He speaks about success, vulnerability, listening, fear and love. 

1.   Accept the reality of your body

2.   Talk about your emotions and difficulties

3.   Don't be afraid of not being successful

4.   In a relationship, take the time to ask "How are you?"

5.   Stop looking at your phone. Be present!

6.   Ask people "What is your story?"

7.   Be aware of your own story

8.   Stop prejudice: meet people

9.   Listen to your deepest desire and follow it

10. Remember that you will die one day