Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012 - Annunciation of the Lord Parish, Ottawa Ontario

Christmas Eve Mass, Annunciation of the Lord Parish, Ottawa,  ( highlights)

 

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Father Jerry's Homily 
 
 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Saint Juan Diego Pray for Us

Today's feast anticipates the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Wednesday,.

St. Juan Diego was born in 1474 in Cuauhtitlan, located 20 kilometers north of Mexico City.

On December 9, 1531, a native Mexican named Juan Diego rose before dawn to walk fifteen miles to daily Mass in what is now Mexico City. Juan lived a simple life as a weaver, farmer, and laborer. That morning, as Juan passed Tepeyac Hill, he heard music and saw a glowing cloud encircled by a rainbow.

A woman's voice called him to the top of the hill. There he saw a beautiful young woman dressed like an Aztec princess. She said she was the Virgin Mary and asked Juan to tell the bishop to build a church on that site. She said, "I vividly desire that a church be built on this site, so that in it I can be present and give my love, compassion, help, and defense, for I am your most devoted mother . . . to hear your laments and to remedy all your miseries, pains, and suffering.

The bishop was kind but skeptical. He asked Juan to bring proof of the Lady's identity. Before Juan could go back to the Lady, he found out his uncle was dying. Hurrying to get a priest, Juan missed his meeting with the Lady. The Lady, however, met him on his path and told him that his uncle had been cured.

She then told Juan to climb to the top of the hill where they first met. Juan was shocked to find flowers growing in the frozen soil. He gathered them in his cloak and took them at once to the bishop

Juan told the bishop what had happened and opened his cloak. The flowers that fell to the ground were Castilian roses (which were not grown in Mexico). But the bishop's eyes were on the glowing image of the Lady imprinted inside Juan's cloak.

Soon after, a church was built on the site where our Lady appeared, and thousands converted to Christianity. Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared the patroness of the Americas.

Juan Diego deeply loved the Holy Eucharist, and by special permission of the Bishop he received Holy Communion three times a week, a highly unusual occurrence in those times

He died on May 30, 1548, at the age of 74

Pope John Paul II praised Juan Diego for his simple faith nourished by catechesis and pictured him (who said to the Blessed Virgin Mary: “I am a nobody, I am a small rope, a tiny ladder, the tail end, a leaf”) as a model of humility for all of us

 


Pope John Paul II's homily during Juan Diego's canonization

I thank you, Father ... that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was your gracious will" (Mt 11:25-26).

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
These words of Jesus in today's Gospel are a special invitation to us to praise and thank God for the gift of the first indigenous Saint of the American Continent.

With deep joy I have come on pilgrimage to this Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Marian heart of Mexico and of America, to proclaim the holiness of Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, the simple, humble Indian who contemplated the sweet and serene face of Our Lady of Tepeyac, so dear to the people of Mexico....
Today I address a very affectionate greeting to the many indigenous people who have come from the different regions of the country, representing the various ethnic groups and cultures which make up the rich, multifaceted Mexican reality. The Pope expresses his closeness to them, his deep respect and admiration, and receives them fraternally in the Lord's name.

What was Juan Diego like? Why did God look upon him? The Book of Sirach, as we have heard, teaches us that God alone "is mighty; he is glorified by the humble" (cf. Sir 3:20). Saint Paul's words, also proclaimed at this celebration, shed light on the divine way of bringing about salvation: "God chose what is low and despised in the world ... so that no human being might boast in the presence of God" (1 Cor 1:28,29).
It is moving to read the accounts of Guadalupe, sensitively written and steeped in tenderness. In them the Virgin Mary, the handmaid "who glorified the Lord" (Lk 1:46), reveals herself to Juan Diego as the Mother of the true God. As a sign, she gives him precious roses, and as he shows them to the Bishop, he discovers the blessed image of Our Lady imprinted on his tilma.

"The Guadalupe Event," as the Mexican Episcopate has pointed out, "meant the beginning of evangelization with a vitality that surpassed all expectations. Christ's message, through his Mother, took up the central elements of the indigenous culture, purified them and gave them the definitive sense of salvation" (14 May 2002, No. 8).

Consequently Guadalupe and Juan Diego have a deep ecclesial and missionary meaning and are a model of perfectly inculturated evangelization.

"The Lord looks down from heaven, he sees all the sons of men" (Ps 33:13), we recited with the Psalmist, once again confessing our faith in God, who makes no distinctions of race or culture.

In accepting the Christian message without forgoing his indigenous identity, Juan Diego discovered the profound truth of the new humanity, in which all are called to be children of God. Thus he facilitated the fruitful meeting of two worlds and became the catalyst for the new Mexican identity, closely united to Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose mestizo face expresses her spiritual motherhood which embraces all Mexicans.
This is why the witness of his life must continue to be the inspiration for the building up of the Mexican nation, encouraging brotherhood among all its children and ever helping to reconcile Mexico with its origins, values, and traditions.

The noble task of building a better Mexico, with greater justice and solidarity, demands the cooperation of all. In particular, it is necessary today to support the indigenous peoples in their legitimate aspirations, respecting and defending the authentic values of each ethnic group. Mexico needs its indigenous peoples and these peoples need Mexico!

Beloved bothers and sisters of every ethnic background of Mexico and America, today, in praising the Indian Juan Diego, I want to express to all of you the closeness of the Church and the Pope, embracing you with love and encouraging you to overcome with hope the difficult times you are going through.
At this decisive moment in Mexico's history, having already crossed the threshold of the new millennium, I entrust to the powerful intercession of Saint Juan Diego the joys and hopes, the fears and anxieties of the beloved Mexican people, whom I carry in my heart.

Blessed Juan Diego, a good, Christian Indian, whom simple people have always considered a saint! We ask you to accompany the Church on her pilgrimage in Mexico, so that she may be more evangelizing and more missionary each day. Encourage the Bishops, support the priests, inspire new and holy vocations, help all those who give their lives to the cause of Christ and the spread of his Kingdom.

Happy Juan Diego, true and faithful man! We entrust to you our lay brothers and sisters so that, feeling the call to holiness, they may imbue every area of social life with the spirit of the Gospel. Bless families, strengthen spouses in their marriage, sustain the efforts of parents to give their children a Christian upbringing. Look with favor upon the pain of those who are suffering in body or in spirit, on those afflicted by poverty, loneliness, marginalization, or ignorance. May all people, civic leaders and ordinary citizens, always act in accordance with the demands of justice and with respect for the dignity of each person, so that in this way peace may be reinforced.

Beloved Juan Diego, "the talking eagle"! Show us the way that leads to the "Dark Virgin" of Tepeyac, that she may receive us in the depths of her heart, for she is the loving, compassionate Mother who guides us to the true God. Amen

History of the Miraculous Medal



Miraculous Medal

from the book: 33 Days to Morning Glory

by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC pg. 2169,170

 

Like the scapular, the miraculous medal is a sacramental. It originated from an apparition of Mary to St. Catherine Laboure, a French nun, living in Paris. The specific apparition that has to do with the miraculous medal occurred on November 27th, 1830.

In that vision of November 27, St. Catherine saw Mary standing on a half-globe, with a serpent crushed beneath her feet and her hands bejewelled with rings, holding a small golden globe with a cross on it.  Bright light shone from some of the jewels on her fingers.  Suddenly, the small golden globe disappeared from Mary’s hands, and she opened her arms outward. The light from the jewels extended out from her hands and a semi-circle frame with an inscription in gold: “O,Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”

The vision seemed to rotate and on the reverse side.  Catherine saw the letter “M” with a cross on it and surrounded by twelve stars. The cross stood on a horizontal bar. Under the “M” were two hearts engulfed in flames, one encircled in thorns, and one pierced by a sword.

Mary then told Catherine, “Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around their neck.”

Mary explained the meaning of the medal to Catherine as follows.  Mary is Queen of heaven and earth. She crushes Satan  who is helpless before her, under her foot.   ( see Gen. 3:15 ). Her arms are open and the many rays of light are graces she obtains for those who request them. The dark jewels, the ones that are not full of light, represent the graces that are available but that people don’t receive because they don’t ask for them.

The inscription, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee,” refers to Mary’s Immaculate Conception, which means that from the first moment of her conception, she was free from all stain of original sin.

On the back of the medal, the twelve stars which surround Mary, represent the twelve Apostles, who represent the whole Church. The “M” is for Mary and the cross is the Cross of Christ, the symbol of our redemption. The horizontal bar represents the earth. The placement of the cross and the bar on, and in the letter “M” shows Mary’s participation in the Cross of Christ and in our world. The two hearts are those of Jesus and Mary burning with love for us all.

With the Church’s approval, the first “Medals of the Immaculate Conception” were made in 1832, and almost immediately reports of miraculous cures began to spring up so much so that the medal became known as the “miraculous medal”

Since the time of the apparitions, millions of medals have been distributed around the world, especially by people like Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. It’s reported that her Missionaries of Charity currently distribute 1.8 million medals per year.

The miraculous medal received liturgical approbation ( special recognition and approval for public prayer) at the direction of Aloisi Cardinal Masella, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, in 1895. It’s one of only three sacramentals in the Church to be so liturgically honored, sharing this distinction with the rosary and the brown scapular.

Far from being a good luck charm or superstition, powerful conversions have taken place through Mary’s intercession and the use of the miraculous medal.

One of the most famous conversions happened to Alphonse Ratisbonne, a Jewish atheist, on January 20, 1842. He despised the Church and the Catholic faith, especially since his older brother Theodor converted to Catholicism and became a Catholic priest. On a dare from a Catholic friend, Baron de Bussieres Ratisbonne began to wear the miraculous medal and to recite the Memorare prayer to prove the fruitlessness of what he thought were just the ridiculous superstitions of the Catholic religion.

On January 20th,  Ratisbonne accompanied Baron de Bussiers into a church, what is now the Basilica of St. Andres delle Fratte in Rome, where the Baron had some business to attend to. When the Baron returned to him, he found Ratisbonne weeping and kissing his medal saying, “I saw her! I saw her!”

He's On His Way


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Homily
Father Jerry Gauvreau C.C.
Annunciation of the Lord Parish,
Ottawa, ON, Canada


Immaculate Conception Dec. 8th

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is truly a most beautiful Solemnity we celebrate today, especially in the Church’s Year of Faith.

Our Blessed Mother Mary not only shows us how to have Faith in God but also how to step out into expectant Faith all the while believing in ourselves!

In 1830, Our Blessed Mother appeared to a young girl by the name of Catherine Laboure.

In these apparitions, it was Mary who revealed or instructed Catherine to have the Miraculous medal made –  Catherine spoke to her Spiritual Director and it was then proposed to the Archbishop (of Paris) who agreed and allowed the medal to be made.

For a more detailed explanation see the book: 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC pg. 169,170

Back of the medal: letter M with a Cross above it and a crossbar below it - 12 Stars (apostles) circling this and under the letter M there are 2 hearts – Sacred Heart with crown of thorns & Immaculate Heart, pierced by a sword. 

On the front of the medal; Mary as the Immaculate Conception with the date 1830 and circling Mary are words inscribed which say: “Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” (recourse-turning to thee – turning to someone for help)

The Miraculous medal back then was actually known as the medal of the Immaculate Conception but due to so many cures and miracles people started to call it the Miraculous Medal.

At the time of Our Lady appearing to St. Catherine in 1830 the Immaculate Conception of Mary was widely believed throughout the Church but it wasn’t a dogma of our faith.

Around 1847 it was Pope Pius IX who consulted with the Cardinals and the theologians of the church to help him discern whether or not the Immaculate Conception should be defined as a dogma of the Church - the Cardinals agreed and then over 603 bishops of the world were asked for their input – 543 agreed (4 said no and the rest abstained) on Dec.8th 1854.

The definition itself reads as follows: "We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary in the first  instant of her conception by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God in view of the merits of Jesus Christ the Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."

Just 4 years later in 1858 this dogma of our Faith was confirmed in the Marian Apparitions to St. Bernadette in Lourdes.  After persistent  requests from St. Bernadette as to who she was Mary said to her:  “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

Just to re-cap:  The apparitions of Our Blessed Mother to St. Catherine back in 1830 about the Miraculous Medal prepared us for the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854, and the apparitions at Lourdes to St. Bernadette in 1858 confirmed it.

Turn to Mary today with open hearts for it is when we have open hearts that the Lord will fill them up with Himself

Last night at the CCO Summit – which consisted of a talk, Eucharistic Adoration, praise and worship and confessions, the young lady who spoke challenged all of us to Prepare Him room – "are we doing it?” she asked

Mary said Yes – why can`t we?  What’s holding us back?

A few years ago in one of Our Blessed Mother’s messages (during Lent) from Medugorje, Mary, Our Lady Queen of Peace  said: "our freedom is our weakness." 

This Advent and in the church’s Year of Faith I would like all of us to use our freedom as our strength – choose Jesus!

I encourage everyone today to turn to our Blessed Mother Mary. In fact, each day we need to beg her to obtain the graces we need to totally surrender our hearts to Jesus, to say yes to him just as she did.  Pope Benedict XVI says: Mary is Mother of the Yes.

I think many sons & daughters would learn plenty from their mother-  no question Jesus did.  We need to pay attention or start paying attention to what Our Blessed Mother is telling us. At the Wedding Feast of Cana, Jesus turned water into wine.

Mary instructed the servers to do whatever Jesus told them to do.  This is certainly a good word for us today!

If you’re not sure what this “do whatever he tells you to do”  is for your own life - just ask Mary for help – ask Mary to help you love the Lord Jesus with all your heart as she did.

Fr. Dennis Lemieux from MH in his book, the Air We Breathe encourages us to: sit at the feet of Mary today, to contemplate her and to ask her in silence and prayer to teach us what we need to know about loving God – Amen!
Father Jerry Gauvreau C.C.



After Mass the Knights of Columbus led us in a beautiful Rosary for Life. Click Here to pray this rosary

 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christ the King


 
 
 
Homily Rev. Hezuk Shroff
 

        Today is the last Sunday of the Church’s liturgical year.  Ever year, we end the Church’s liturgical cycle by celebrating the Kingship of Christ.  But what exactly do we mean when we say that Christ is King?  Even in the Gospel, we see that Pontius Pilate is confused over the whole notion of kingship?  “You are truly king?”, he asks Our Lord.  And Jesus’ reply is very enigmatic, but also very enlightening:  maybe not for Pontius Pilate, but it certainly is for us.  Jesus replies, “My kingdom is not of this world.”  And then he adds, “I came into this world to bear witness to the Truth.  Everyone who belongs to the Truth listens to me.”

        Our Lord Jesus Christ, then, is truly a King.  But his Kingship is not of this world.  It is not a kingship founded on worldly power and strength and might.  It is a Kingship that is founded on Truth.  Jesus Christ is King in the realm of Truth.  What exactly does this mean, and how does it apply to us today, we who desire to be his disciples, faithful to his Commandments and his teachings?

        In the Old Testament, the people of Israel did not originally have a king.  They had patriarchs, elders, and then judges.  But there came a time when the Israelites looked all around them, and saw kings on all their borders.  They became jealous, and so they cried out to God, “We want a king!  We want a king!  We want a king, just like all the other people around us!”  This cry for a king saddened God.  It was never in his divine plan to give his people a king.  Why?  Because he wanted them to understand that he himself was their King!  They did not have a human king because their true King was God himself.  That is what God meant when he said to his people through the prophets, “You shall be my people, and I shall be your God.”  And also, it is what we heard proclaimed in the responsorial psalm:  “The Lord is King; he is robed in majesty!”  Now you have to admit that having God himself as your King is not a shabby deal at all!  And yet that was not enough for the Israelites.  They insisted, “We want a king!  We want a king!”  And so, God finally said to them, “You want a king?  Fine.  I will give you a worldly king.”  And that is when the monarchy was founded among the Israelites.  Some of Israel’s kings were good, others were horrible.  Every king in the Bible was measured against one standard alone:  was he faithful to the Will of God?  In other words, was he faithful to the true King?  Some kings instituted sacrifices to idols or false gods.  Others remained faithful to the one true God of Israel.  Other kings were faithful in terms of how they governed the people, but in themselves, they led very morally questionable lives or frequently fell into sin.  King David is an example of a king who “was after the heart of God”, as the Scriptures say.  And yet, he too fell into moral vices, such as adultery and murder.  But King David repented, and that is what made him so blessed in the eyes of God.

        Finally, the monarchy fell apart among the Israelites.  And despite their attempts to restore it, it was never restored to Israel.  And so, when Christ came into this world among the Jewish people, they had long lived without a king of their own.  The only kings they knew were representatives of their oppressors, the Romans.  And so Our Lord’s response to Pontius Pilate was a bit of a surprise.  He clearly told Pilate that he is truly a king, but not a king in the worldly sense.  And he unites his Kingship to the notion of Truth:  “Whoever belongs to the Truth listens to me.”  This is a very bold claim that Our Lord made.

        Psalm 22 (or 23 in some modern Bibles), begins with the famous words, “The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.”  This translation follows the Hebrew version of that psalm.  But the Latin and Greek versions of psalm 22 are very different to the Hebrew.  They both begin the psalm with the words, “The Lord rules over me; there is nothing that I lack.”  These versions of the psalm do not speak of God as being a Shepherd (as the Hebrew version does):  rather, they speak about God as being a ruler over his people:  in other words, God is King!  And so it seems that the Israelites finally understood through the psalms and the prophets why the monarchy had to die:  because they came to a realisation that God himself is the only King that they truly need, and when God rules over you, how can you possibly be in want of anything else -- much less, of an earthly king?

        The Church very consciously applies the words of Psalm 22 (23) to Jesus himself.  “The Lord rules over me” means, for us Christians, “Christ rules over me.”  Christ is therefore the true King, in the fullest sense of the word, because he is not only a man, but God himself, the King of Heaven and earth, incarnate in human flesh. There is a very traditional and triumphant hymn in the Catholic Church that always used to be sung on the Solemnity of Christ the King.  The words and melody were both triumphal in nature, very regal we would say.  In that hymn, we would sing, Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat!  which means, “Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ rules!”  Sadly, it is not heard very often today, except in places where the Traditional Catholic Liturgy is still strong and alive.  Perhaps it is not used today because it appears to sound a bit triumphalistic to modern ears.  But there is nothing triumphalistic about it, in the negative sense.  It is simply a hymn that proclaims the universal Kingship of Christ, over all peoples, all nations, all men and women.  Many who do not accept Christ can deny his kingship over them; but that does not make him any less of a King.  Christ must reign in our hearts, for without him, we can do absolutely nothing. 

        Ultimately, saying that Christ is our King means that we give over all that we have, and all that we are (our very being itself) to him, to do with as he wills, according to his good will and pleasure.  Saying that Christ is our King also means that we must humbly submit ourselves to him, and to his Truth.  Remember what he said to Pontius Pilate:  “Whoever belongs to the Truth listens to me!”  Saying that Christ is our King means allowing all that we do to be offered up to him for his greater glory.  In the Church’s liturgy, we show our reverence to Christ the King is various ways.  For example, the priest bows his head slightly whenever the Most Holy Name of Jesus is said aloud (as we do also at the Holy Name of Mary).  And we genuflect in the presence of Jesus, once again to acknowledge that we are in the presence of our King.  In ancient times, whenever a King entered a room where his subjects were present, they would bend the knee to the floor in order to acknowledge his kingship over them.  In the Middle Ages, this custom was maintained, but with a very important difference:  the right knee was bended only to God (so, for example, before the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament), whereas the left knee was bended in the presence of the earthly king.  This was done to show that we never give the same honour and veneration to a human king that we would give to God himself.  That is why even today, we always bend the right knee before the Tabernacle or the Real Presence of Jesus on the altar.  This is also why we kneel to prepare ourselves for the consecration, to remind us that Christ our true King is about to become present on the altar.

        One of the natural consequences of acknowledging Christ as our true King is that we also acknowledge the Virgin Mary as our true Queen.  She is Queen of Heaven and earth, because she is the worthy Mother of the King of Heaven and earth.  Images of Jesus as King and Mary as our Queen are not meant to distance Christ or the Blessed Virgin from us:  on the contrary, they are meant to show us how much we are loved by God.  True kingship is not about lording it over one’s subject.  The true king is the one who serves his people, and that is exactly what Christ came to do for us out of love.  As our King, he serves us:  “I came not to be served,” he says, “but to serve, and to give up my life for the multitude.”  Christ the King shows us that true power, authority and kingship always imply humble service; they imply taking the last place, becoming the servant of all.

        Today, we give thanks to God the Father, for sending us his Son to be our Saviour, our Lord, our King.  We pray that one day, all things may be restored to God the Father in and through Christ his Son -- just like the Collect (opening) prayer of this Mass says.  And as the same pray says, we ask for the grace of being set free from slavery and sin, so as to render service to our Majesty, Christ the King, and to proclaim unceasingly his praises for all eternity!  Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat!  Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ rules...in our hearts!  May his Kingdom come, here on earth, as it is in Heaven.  Amen.

Rev. Hezuk Shroff is the Associate Pastor: of Divine Infant Parish
6658 Bilberry Drive
Orleans ON K1C 2S9

 
 

Pro Life Mass, Divine Infant Catholic Church Ottawa Ontario, November 24, 2012



Homily of Rev. Hezuk Shroff


My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Today the Church celebrates the memorial of the Martyrs Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions. This feast day celebrates all those Vietnamese Catholics who were martyred in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. I think that it is rather providential that our monthly Pro-Life Mass falls this month on the feast day of these martyrs, for what we are doing in the Pro-Life movement today is in itself a type of spiritual martyrdom, in the original sense of the word.

What exactly is a martyr? The word “martyr” means “witness”. The martyrs are those who bore witness to Christ, the supreme witness that man can give to God: the witness of allowing one’s own blood to be shed, giving up one’s own life in order to remain faithful to the Lord. The witness of the martyrs is a heroic witness. Martyrdom is a heroic type of fidelity. Saint Paul tells us that Our Lord Jesus Christ was faithful: faithful to the very end, faithful unto death on the Cross. Our Lord could have made his life “easier” in a certain way, by either denying the truth of who he was, or even remaining silent in regard to that truth. He was crucified because he chose to bear witness to that truth, the truth of his identity as the Son of God, and instead of telling his persecutors what they wanted to hear (and thus probably sparing himself the ignominy of the Cross), Our Lord told them what they needed to hear.

In the Pro-Life movement, we need to have the courage to do the same. Telling people what they want to hear, watering down the message of the Catholic Faith and the inviolable dignity of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God …. watering that down in order to please the world is a compromise that we and the Catholic Church can never make. The world needs to hear the truth, and true charity means that we have the obligation to bring that truth to the world -- whatever the cost may be.

The holy Vietnamese martyrs, whose feast day we celebrate today, attest to Christ’s lordship over their whole lives by freely giving up for him the most fundamental gift that God had given them: the gift of life itself. They faithfully bore witness to the truth that is found in the words of Our Lord to his disciples, “No greater love is there than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Saint Andrew Dung-Lac and the holy Vietnamese martyrs did just that: they laid down their lives for their greatest Friend: their Lord and their Saviour, Jesus Christ! They laid down their life also for their own people, so that the sacrifice of their blood being shed in union with Christ’s own Precious Blood, may bring about the graces needed for the conversion for their people.

The readings at today’s Mass are proper to the feast of the holy Vietnamese martyrs. But in a certain way, these readings correspond fortuitously to our Pro-Life theme at this Mass. The first reading, from the Book of Wisdom, tells us that the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God. It tells us that no torment will every touch them, and that in the eyes of the world, they are destroyed, but in reality they are at peace. Their hope is filled with immortality, though in the sight of the world, they were somehow punished. Their lives were offered up to God and accepted by him as a sacrificial burnt offering.

Who can read these words, in the context of this Pro-Life Mass, without thinking of the unborn? To the eyes of many, they are useless; they have no “rights” until they have come forth fully from the womb. Until they are fully born, to many, they are just a part of their mother’s body, and so their mother can dispose of them as she chooses, much like she would dispose of a wart, or a cancerous group of cells -- as if to be pregnant were some sort of a contagious disease. How can today’s so-called “sophisticated” world look at the unborn in this way? When science has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that a foetus is indeed a living, human being, the forces that be insist that it is nothing but a group of cells, with no rights in the eyes of the law, and no rights from a moral perspective either. If they are only a part of the mother’s body, then surely the mother can do with them as she wills.

Such ideas defy human logic, human reason, human compassion. In the name of freedom, our society says that a mother can choose to kill her own child. Is this what “freedom” truly is? Is freedom the right to choose evil? Is freedom the right to kill? Am I more free when I choose to murder, to steal, to do what is morally unacceptable? If so, then there would be no one more free in our Western society than the murderer, the rapist, the thief. Does the power to do evil make man free? That is the fundamental question that must be answered.

The modern notion of freedom equates freedom with licence. Licence is about me being able to do what I want, how I want, whenever I want -- regardless of the consequences. But is that what authentic freedom is? Is that what makes a man truly free?

The Church’s answer is a categorical “No!” How does the Church, then, see freedom? The Church views freedom in the same way in which Our Lord sees it. In St. John’s Gospel, ch. 8., Our Lord is speaking to those who believe in him. When asked how to be a true disciple of his, Jesus replies, “If you continue in my word, then you shall be my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn 8:31-32) “The truth shall make you free.” Ever since those words were uttered, Jesus has made it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt what authentic freedom really is. Freedom and truth are inseparable. One is only authentically free when one is living in accordance with the truth. That is Christ’s definition of freedom; and so too it has become the Church’s. The Catholic Church emphatically states that freedom and truth can never be separated. To live in a way that is not in conformity with the truth is not to be “free from the truth”, but to be “a slave to untruth”. In fact, that is exactly what Our Lord says to his disciples. “Whoever sins,” he says, “is a slave of sin.” (Jn 8:34-36). And so we see very clearly that there can be no such thing as the “freedom to sin” or the “freedom to do evil”. Sin and evil, by their very nature, turn us away from God. They are anti-God, and because all freedom comes from God and from his truth, whenever we sin or do evil, we do the exact opposite of becoming free: we become slaves.

The Church is unconditionally and unabashedly pro-life. How can she be anything else? All life comes from God: that is a central truth of our Faith. If God therefore is the author of all human life, then he alone has absolute power over life. The great temptation of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden was the temptation to “be like God”: to usurp the power and authority that God alone possesses. Satan, in the form of a serpent, tempted Eve with the false notion of freedom that reigns in today’s world. He tempted Eve with the ultimate temptation: “You shall be like God.” In other words, “you will be the one to determine what is good and evil. You will be the norm of truth.” Isn’t this what many in today’s society wish for? Do not many today seek to be the norm of all truth? “If I believe something, then it is true. Don’t tell me that I don’t have the right to do this or that: if I believe it is good for me, then it is good -- regardless of what you say.”

This attitude is what leads to the desire, in our modern Western culture, to re-define anything and everything according to our own “convenient truths.” We want to re-define marriage, to re-define life, to re-define even what it means to be human. And in doing so, we become less human. That is the great irony of it all. Ultimately, when man rejects God and the truths given to him by God, he does not become more of a man, but less. We see this very clearly in the movement that calls itself “Pro-Choice.” In reality, as we all know, it is not a movement that is pro-choice, but one that is pro-abortion, that is: pro-the-choice-to-kill. The pro-death or anti-life movement is founded on this false notion that somehow we are more free when we can choose evil. But in choosing evil, not only do we lose our freedom: we also lose our humanity. Man was created for God. He was thus created for the Good and for Truth. He was created for the Supreme Good, the Supreme Truth, and it is only insofar as he pursues that Good and follows that Truth that he will become truly free, and truly human. The Pro-Life movement, therefore, is a movement that is Pro-Truth, Pro-Goodness, and ultimately, Pro-God. One cannot be for God and against Life, just like one cannot be for God and against Truth. This is why the Pro-Life movement is not just an action of Social Justice. It is much deeper than that. It is a fight for all that is good, noble, just and true -- because it is a fight for the primacy of God. Life and Truth always lead us to God, for he is their very Author and Source. How many people, for example, begin in the Pro-Life movement, who are Pro-Life but not necessarily Catholic, and who end up through their service to Life by ultimately finding God and finding Christ in his Catholic Church? This is not a sheer coincidence. It is the Truth of God active and alive in their hearts.

 Last week, I went to a showing of a beautiful movie on the life of St. Augustine, and in that movie, the great bishop Ambrose confronts the early Augustine (before his conversion). And what he says to Augustine resonates in his heart, and eventually leads to the conversion of that great saint. In the movie, Augustine is speaking about truth and man’s search for the truth. He speaks about it in philosophical and abstract terms. “Man was made to search for the truth,” Augustine says. Saint Ambrose listens to him charitably, and then simply says these words: “Man does not search for the Truth; man allows the Truth to find him.” These words were one of the highlights of the film. How true they are! Yes, we do seek the truth, but ultimately it is the Truth that seeks us. Why? Because the Truth is not an abstract concept; the Truth is not a thought, an intellectual reasoning: the Truth is a Person, and that Person is Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity! This is why truth always leads us to Christ, who said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life!” To be pro-Christ means therefore to be pro-Truth and pro-Life!

In today’s world, we have the obligation to bring the message of that Truth to all those who have ears to hear. We must always do so with great Charity, of course, but we must never allow a false charity to lead us to watering down the Truth. And neither should we allow fear to turn us away from proclaiming the Truth. Remember Our Lord’s words in today’s Gospel: Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves. They will hand you over to councils; they will flog you in their synagogues; you will be dragged to bear witness before governors and kings because of me. But when they hand you over, do not worry about what you will say or how you should speak, for it is not you who will speak, but the Spirit of your Father in Heaven speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child [and today, we should add: And a mother, the unborn infant she carries in her womb]. You will be hated by all because of my name. But do not fear, for the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.

  In other words, brothers and sisters, Our Lord is telling us that we have the obligation to proclaim the Truth -- charitably, but with boldness -- and that we should never fear the consequences, for it is God himself who will be our strength, and God himself who will be speaking and converting human hearts through our words. God is Truth, and God is Love. That is the heart of the message of the Catholic Church. And that is also the core of the Pro-Life message. We are Pro-Life because we are pro-Truth and pro-Love, and ultimately, because we are pro-God!

May God bless each and every one of you as you continue bearing witness to the Truth about the dignity of all human life, from the moment of natural conception to natural death. May the holy Vietnamese martyrs give you the courage to bear witness to the inherent sacredness of human life, even in the face of adversity and suffering. And may Our Blessed Mother intercede for you and for your ministry, may she lead you and guide you as you work unceasingly for the cause of Life. Our Lady will reward you greatly for what you do (you can be sure of it), for she is the Mother of the Pro-Life movement. Eve, whose name means “Mother of all the Living” sadly brought sin and death into this world. But Mary is the New Eve, the true Mother of all the Living. She brought Life into the world, by conceiving and giving birth to the Son of God. May God bless you all through the intercession of His Blessed Mother. And may the Holy Angels and Saints strengthen you in your resolve to be authentic witnesses to the very end, witnesses to the Gospel of Life, witnesses to the Gospel of the One who said, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.” In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Rev. Hezuk Shroff is the Associate Pastor: of Divine Infant Parish
6658 Bilberry Drive
Orleans ON K1C 2S9


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pro Life Mass October 27 2012 Annunciation of the Lord Parish





Photos I took at the Pro Life Mass at Annunciation of the Lord Parish on Saturday October 27, 2912.. I made a slide show with liturgical music from the Saint Louis Jesuits in the background

THE PILGRIMAGE OF MASSES 
The Holy Catholic Church has been continually teaching us, and Common Sense agrees, that abortion is the gravest crime of modern society! But Mother Church is ever ready to provide healing and peace and to point to the solutions. John Paul II and our modern Popes have called for CONVERSION from the culture of death to the Culture of Life.

Our continuing Pilgrimage of Masses provides us all with opportunities to focus on this ON GOING conversion of each one of us, not just "those out there" but also "the person in the mirror". Thus you and I will be able to awake each morning and "report for duty" in the Vineyard of God our Father with the words of Samuel on our lips and in our hearts: "Here I am Lord (I have come to do your will!"

In paragraph 88 of Pope John Paul ll's "Evangelium Vitae", he recommends the establishment of "Pro-Life Centres." These will help to reduce the threat to Life throughout its spectrum. There are Pro-Life Centres in the USA ( Washington DC and New York ), but we need to focus anew on this prophetic call of the late Pontiff. This "focus" necessarily begins with prayer (Come Holy Spirit) and study before the work begins. So opening Pro-Life Centres for Ottawa and other cities of the world are not easy targets!
HENCE, THE NEED FOR THE PILGRIMAGE OF MASSES.

 The Mass intentions, therefore, will be:

(1)  Conversion from the culture of death to The Culture of Life

(2)  The end of abortion worldwide

(3)  Opening of Pro-Life Centres in all cities of the world, including Ottawa
THE PILGRIMAGE CONTINUES




Sunday, October 21, 2012

Canonization of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

Beatified by Blessed John Paul II in 1980, Kateri Tekakwitha was proclaimed the first Native woman saint by Pope Benedict XVI on October 21, 2012.


Run With Life: What it means to be pro-life

Run With Life: What it means to be pro-life: Father Jerry's homily on Oct 7 tells us about being pro-life on both ends of the life continuum. After Motion-312 was defeated, Father Jer...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

EWTN Live - 2012-10-17 - Douglas Bushman, STL - What is the Year of Faith?



from EWTN

with Father Mitch Pacwa S.J

and special guest Mr. Douglas Bushman


1...Knowing Our Faith Better,

2...Conversion,

3....Witness of Joy


The starting point for our faith about the Church is the Creed. We believe in One, Holy, Catholic and apostolic Church and so any Theology of the Church has to begin there and this is what Pope Benedict is calling us to rediscover. When you read all he has written about the year of faith he uses many verbs with re to rediscover the profound sources of our faith especially the Creed. That's the first part to understanding our faith better and there is no better source than the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is perhaps the greatest fruit of the second Vatican Council and the Pontificat of John Paul II. From the one to whom more is given, more will be required. Therefore the more we fully understand our faith the more we are accountable and this leads to conversion. This leads to making all the efforts we can make to live up to our deeper understanding of what God has revealed. Metanoia the Greek word for conversion means changing the way that we think; to think the way God thinks. The third step is when sin is rooted out of our lives and Christ reigns more fully in our hearts, we will think, speak and act more like Jesus and this is very good for the world who is in desperate need of Jesus: for everyone who is looking for the meaning and purpose of their lives, for everyone who has an aspiration to live and authentic meaningful existence Jesus is the answer. Well, how are they going to hear about Him? They are going to hear about him from his Disciples who have already discovered His message that His truth sets us free. So the final stage after knowing our faith better, after our conversion, is the Witness of Joy: the witness of a fully human life in Christ Joy is the state we experience when we are in the possession of the pearl of great price........


Friday, October 19, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pro Life Stewardship - written by Father Jim Whalen - Priests for Life Canada Newsletter - 2005 Issue 3


PRO-LIFE STEWARDSHIP
by Fr. Jim Whalen
Priests for Life Newsletter Issue 3 - 2005

Fr. Jim Whalen, who was one of the greatest Canadian advocates for life.died suddenly on Sunday, February 24, 2008, at the age of 68.while conducting a Pro-Life Parish Mission in Thorold, ON
 

Stewardship is not an option for pro-life disciples. It is a necessity. It means responding to a personal call to “choose life” and imitate Christ, no matter what the cost. Catholics have a duty to be stewards of human life - Jesus did not hesitate to carry out His mission and expects no less from his followers: “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly...” (Jn 10:10). Living as a pro-life steward means collaborating with God in His work of creation and cooperating with God in His work of redemption. A pro-life Christian steward is one who recognizes, receives, and respects God’s gifts of life thankfully - taking care, cherishing them in a responsible and accountable manner, sharing them in love and justice with others, and returning them with increase to the ‘Giver of Life’. A pro-life steward recognizes God as the origin of life, the giver of freedom, and the source of all they have, are, and will be. Once human beings have accepted their lives as gifts, the Spirit can use them as instruments to spread the ‘Gospel of Life’.

It is difficult to be a pro-life steward in the ‘Culture of Death’ society that surrounds and suffocates us. The contraceptive mentality we live in is due largely to the strong influences of materialism, relativism, hedonism, individualism, and consumerism. There is a strong tendency to marginalize faith, confining it to hearts and homes, excluding it from the media and marketplace, from where policy is often formed, where many acquire their view of life and its meaning. There is a lack of charity, a lack of love, and a selfishness which pervades our world. There are extreme disparities in wealth and power that hinder unity and communion. There is a need for solidarity and contributive justice, for the measurement of productivity by fulfillment of basic needs, employment levels, patterns of discrimination, and a sense of community. There is a persistence of religious conflicts and divisions. There is a need for mercy, forgiveness, and truth,
Stewardship of life, the Lord’s way, is not about comfortable living, feeling good, or pleasant experiences. It means surrendering ourselves through grace and choice.

 

It is not an illusion.

It is not cheap grace.

It is real.

It is costly.

It is demanding. 

 


We become stewards of life by grace, starting with our Baptism, which makes us into a royal priesthood and members of God’s family. This means sharing in the priestly work of Jesus and acting on His behalf. This means imitating Him. “For in Him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile all things for Him, making peace by the blood of His Cross” (Col 1:19-20). It means putting aside the desire for possession, control and domination. It means seeking grace because it confers true liberation and eternal life. It also means the condemnation of sin and reparation: living a life of grace, reaching out, and accepting the call to greater conversion. It means accepting the divine mandate given to our first parents: “Be fertile and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen 1:28). We are challenged to work, to cultivate, and to care for the gifts of creation, for life, and all living things. This is fundamental to our human vocation and necessary for human happiness and fulfillment. Vatican II emphasizes our task - the surpassing ministry of safeguarding life: “From the moment of its conception, life must be guarded with the greatest care...” (Gaudium et Spes, #51).


The principle of stewardship applies to all believers. In this age of unbelief we are asked to follow Christ, step by step, in the service of human life: “Each one of you has received a special grace, so, like good stewards responsible for all these different graces of God, put yourselves at the service of others” (1 Pet 4:10). We must give to God all that is due to Him. We must in charity and justice give to human persons all that is due to them. This means not only giving of ourselves and embracing pro-life discipleship whole-heartedly and cheerfully, but also in realizing our responsibility, we must also give the full amount for which we are accountable. “I will demand an account of every man’s life from his fellowmen” (Gen 9:5).

As stewards our first and foremost responsibility is to give ourselves - our lives. Jesus made this very clear: “Whoever shall save his life [live for self], shall lose it, but whoever shall lose his life [live for Christ and neighbour] for My sake and the Gospel’s, the same shall save it [in following Christ]” (Mk 8:34-35).
Pro-life stewardship means giving priority to God and our neighbor. The Holy Scriptures point us in the right direction:

- Loving God and others ( Deut 6:5).
- Be found faithful (l Cor 4:2).
- Choose Life (Deut 30:19).
- Pray constantly (1 Thess 5:17).
- To Evangelize (Mt 28:19:20).
- Seek justice (Zeph 2:3).
- Put self on the altar of sacrifice (Rom l2:1).
- Be holy (l Thess 4:3).
- Resist and oppose evil to the point of shedding blood (Heb 12:4).
- Be forgiving (Eph 4:32).
- Imitate Mary’s Fiat (Lk l:38).

After Jesus, it is Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Queen and Mother of the Americas, Mother of Life, Star of the New Evangelization, Patroness of Life, who, by her example, teaches the meaning of stewardship. The essential elements are found in her life. She responded generously, creatively, and prudently to God’s call and gifts. She understood her role as handmaid in terms of service and fidelity. As Mother she was the first Protectrix of Jesus in the womb, and this continued on into infancy, childhood, and then adulthood - until the agony of Christ’s Passion and Death (Jn 19:25). As ‘Mother of the Church’ (Pope Paul VI, Discourse, 1964), Mary’s stewardship is articulated in the Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium). She is “clearly the Mother of the members of Christ” (#53). She is invoked in the Church under these titles: Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatix (#62). Pope John Paul II explained her role in Redemptoris Mater: “Mary is one of the first who believed and precisely with her faith, as Spouse and Mother, she wishes to act upon all those who entrust themselves to her as children” (#46).
The pro-life disciple is called to share all he or she possesses as gifts and blessings with others for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Good stewards of life live with joy and gratitude for what they have received, living in communion with Christ and the Spirit and strive through diligence and hard work to multiply these blessings so as to offer them back to the Father. They have come to realize and understand their personal responsibility: “To each individual a manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit” (l Cor 12:7).


Pro-life stewardship is a position of trustworthiness and faithfulness. In many cases it is a matter of life or death choices. Of necessity, it implies competence and commitment to God and our neighbours. It involves proper use of initiative, talents, and abilities. It also means hard work and tremendous efforts. At times it includes taking appropriate risks courageously. It means accepting a sense of responsibility for one’s personal development: spiritual dimension, discipleship, etc.; for relationships within the family, the workplace and the wider community: follow the ‘Golden Rule’; for certain entrusted material, financial possessions, and resources: keeping promises, fulfilling expectations, loyalty, integrity, etc.


Catholics advocate that pro-life stewardship be Trinitarian, Eucharistic, Scriptural, Marian, and Magisterial. It means giving thanks to God for the gifts received and sharing them with others, “leading to works of charity and mutual help, as well as to missionary activity and to different forms of Christian witness” (Vatican II, Presbyterorum Ordinis, #6). It means living the fundamental pattern of stewards: “Serve one another through love..., bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal 5:13; 6:2). It means service of life by doing all for Jesus, through Mary, by doing all with Jesus and Mary (True Devotion, St Louis de Montfort).

 

 

Pro-life stewards are called to share the life of the Blessed Trinity: “Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations: baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19). Pro-life disciples model their lives on their Master, Jesus Christ, who said: “I have come not to be served but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28). +

NOTES: Information & Research

Stewardship, a Disciple’s Response, U.S.C.C.C.B. Publishing, 10th Anniversary Edition, Washington, DC, No. 5-465, 80 pp.

 

To be a Christian Steward, Summary U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Stewardship, U.S.C.C.C.B. Publishing, No 568-2, 16 pp.


Go and Make Disciples, Evangelization Strategy, U.S. Catholic Bishops, No. 5-475, 104 pp.


Principles for Life, Robert Boyd, 1995, Chapter 12, Stewardship, pp. 109-114. +

 

40 Days for Life - Midpoint Rally at Ground Zero -Sunday October 14, 2012







40 Days for Life Ottawa

 
-Midpoint Rally -
October 14, 2012, 7:00PM
Photos and Speeches
 
Photos compliments of Paul Lauzon
 
 



 


 
Marcel Dion Leading Evening Prayer




Archbishop Terrence Prendergast 
 
 
 
 
Deacon Charles Fink
 
 
 
 
Jennifer Snell 
 
 
 
Doris Gagnon 
 
 
 
John Pacheco







Speeches
 
 
Archbishop Terrence Prendergast
Blessed Mother Teresa once said: "Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat."
We are halfway through the 40 Days for Life Campaign here in Ottawa. It is a good time to reflect on why we are doing what we are doing. This Christian witness is not about gender politics, or social activism or pushing a religious agenda onto a secular society.
Some people, perhaps many people, might think that these issues are behind the campaign but it is really something simpler, more important than these things.

At the heart of this campaign is love. It is love and care for the vulnerable that motivates us to stand outside in often blustery, inclement Fall weather in downtown Ottawa. It is love for women and their unborn children, that motivates us to be a witness to the value of human life and the great blessing and dignity of motherhood.

Elements in society today treat the gift of new life in the womb as a ‘medical condition,’ an intrusion into the private realm of personal autonomy, a potential problem that needs a radical solution.

But we know that new life is a gift; each pre-born human person is a unique expression of God’s love and His ongoing, creative work in the world. Even when children come into existence in difficult circumstances, we need to recognize that they are a gift.

The work of witnessing to the value of human life is difficult. It is not always popular and our motivation for advocating and witnessing to the value of human life is often misunderstood.

We do not always see the results of this witness. Sometimes we know that the 40 Days for Life Campaign has touched a heart or saved a life but I suspect many more hearts are softened, eyes opened and minds begin questioning than we suspect and know. It is important for us to continue this witness with love in our hearts and peace on our lips confident that what we are doing, with the help of God’s grace, matters. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to soften hearts and reorient positions in this great work for life.

Recently a Member of Provincial Parliament has suggested that to be opposed to abortion and to be pro-life—to be in favour of the protection of life from the first moment of conception in the womb—is a form of bullying and therefore is “misogynistic”—that is hateful of women and, further, that such teaching ought not to be part of the moral teaching characteristic of our Catholic schools. In effect, the suggestion is that Catholic teaching on this point should be forbidden in publicly-funded Catholic schools. While people of other faiths and no faith are pro-life, the protection of the vulnerable, including those conceived in the womb is authentic Catholic doctrine and has its place in Catholic schools.

I am reminded of the words of a martyr-priest, whose feast falls in the Jesuit Ordo today but is not observed because of the Lord’s Day: they offer an apt analogy for our times:

‘In all that concerns the king, I will be slavishly obedient; if any attack his temporal power, I will shed my last drop of blood for him. But in the things of spiritual jurisdiction which a king unjustly seizes I cannot and must not obey.’
~ St. John Ogilvie
We witness through prayers, fasting, words of counsel, support and encouragement and simply by our presence. We must remember that our task is not to be successful but to be faithful. Blessed Mother Teresa reminds us: "We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love."

May God bless and sustain you and may Our Blessed Mother be your constant companion and intercessor.


Deacon Chuck Fink:


During this year of faith, as the Deacon of the mass, I am dismissing the congregation using the words: ‘Go and announce the gospel of the Lord’. This is my plea to you, to take the word which has just been proclaimed to you and proclaim it to your friends, neighbours, fellow workers, and even from the rooftops if you are so inclined.

As JP II said, “Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places, like the first apostles who preached Christ and the Good News of salvation in the squares of the cities, towns and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel. It is the time to preach it from the rooftops.”

During this 40 days for life campaign we are giving you the opportunity to proclaim the word of God on one of the busiest streets in Ottawa during the busiest time of the day.
This has a threefold effect:

1) God is present in His Word. When we proclaim his word in a venue such as this, He is with us and the enemy will flee allowing our work to bear fruit. And it brings a sense of peace to the area. Since we began this component of the campaign, there have been no violent events as in the past – and we pray it remains peaceful.

2) The spoken word may touch the heart of someone passing by who may have never heard the gospel and wants to hear more; or if a lady is walking into the abortion clinic and hears the word of God, she may have a change of heart. We may never know the fruits of our work. Only God knows the true impact of what is being done here. For us, we are just humble disciples answering his call and praying for His will to be done. We have faith that it is being done.

3) It allows each of us the opportunity to develop the courage to proclaim the word in public; and hopefully to take away our fear of taking a stand that goes against popular opinion; thereby preparing us to boldly defend the church’s teaching on issues such as abortion, euthanasia, same sex marriage, etc. instead of shying away from the discussion.

Today’s Gospel reminds us of the difficulty many of us have in accepting god’s invitation to do His work: The young man, in the gospel, truly wanted to know what he must do, over and above what he was already doing, to inherit eternal life and Jesus told him to sell all that he had, give the money to the poor and follow him. But because the man was so burdened with his possessions, he would not do what Jesus asked of him, even though, in his heart, this is was his true desire. God has placed that same desire in each of our hearts but Satan has a way of finding one of our weaknesses to tie us down and keep us from serving our Lord.

There is an important message in this Gospel that can probably be carried throughout the year of faith and that message is ‘Let Go’.
Let go of the fears that are keeping you from Proclaiming the Gospel,
Let go of the fears that prevent you from going against the grain in your conversations with others about abortion and other Church teachings.
Let go of the things that are preventing you from utilizing your God-given gifts to serve the Lord. Jesus is calling us to action.

If abortion is to be ended and society’s moral compass realigned to accept the natural law, then it will be accomplished by those who say yes to Jesus and no to the burdens that are holding us back. 
My friends, the Church is under attack. We can see it in how government is forcing immoral policy in our schools. We can see it in how they are refusing to acknowledge the existence of human life in the womb. We can see it in the US where immoral policies are being dictated to Catholic hospitals and other organizations. The list goes on. Our voices must be loud. We must be convincing, and our methods must be intelligent and well planned if we are to sway public opinion and turn the moral tide.

Please continue to pray. Remember, that with the Lord, all things are possible.
If anyone wishes to sign up to proclaim the word, there are still many slots available. Simply go to the Ottawa 40 days for Life website, click on proclamation and let me know by email or by phone which slot you would like to take.

Blessings to you all.

John Pacheco:
...This particular water attraction featured a huge barrel of water suspended about 20 feet off the ground and slightly tilted to one side. As the water
circulated around this attraction, it would funnel through a little pipe just above this huge barrel of water.
As the water would collect in this barrel, you could see that the barrel would slowly start to tilt more and more to the ground. As the seconds and minutes went by, you could also see what was going to happen to the water when it reached a critical mass.
And sure enough, when that critical mass was reached, the entire barrel of water emptied down on the gleeful and ecstatic children below.
My dear friends, that is what is happening here at Ground Zero. For every prayer and sacrifice that we make here on these grounds is like a drop of water into that barrel.
We might not see any tilting of the vat. It might take some time, but rest assured that every prayer is being registered, every sacrifice is being counted, and every converted heart is bringing that barrel closer to turning over.
The critical mass is coming. It's inevitable. It's going to happen. And when it does, we will experience even a greater joy and excitement than those children did when the water splashed down on their heads.
Long Haul
When we first started 40 Days, I think some of us were hopeful we could shut down this clinic in a couple of campaigns, but I think we all understand that we're in this for the long haul.
And it's not just about shutting down this clinic which is really only a symptom of the greater sickness in our culture which is despair and apathy to unborn life.
We have to cure that before we can really achieve the victory.
Now many of you may think that a woman who choose not to go for an abortion as a result of our efforts here is a great victory, and indeed it is, but as bold as this sounds, a believer like us who chooses to participate in our Campaign who did not previously is almost as great a victory because it adds one more soldier is Jesus' army against abortion. Let me share with you an email I received this weekend which testifies to this:








I was one of those people. You know the ones walking by, heads down, reciting to themselves “Don’t make eye contact” over and over. I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want to intrude in people’s lives. If women wanted to choose, let them, it wasn’t for me to tell them they couldn’t. Then something happened. I’m not sure what, but over the last year my eyes were opened, and because of that, so was my heart. When the 40 Days for Life started, I initially thought “I can’t do that, it’s downtown, it’s gonna be cold, parking’s a pain”. Then I realized that I was thinking like my old self. Yes, it was cold, yes, parking was a pain, and, yes, it was an hour. An hour out of my day, my year, my life. An hour can seem like a lifetime. But the fact is, it’s an hour some may never experience. It really wasn’t too much. It went quickly, and if any lives were saved, if it got even one person thinking, fantastic. Am I going down again? You bet.
You see, folks, this is indeed a great victory because it shows progress amongst our own Faith community who need to be awakened like this woman was. On this sacred ground we are standing to convert not only the culture of death but also those believers among us who need encouragement - because we cannot win this fight until the Church - its pewsitters and its leaders - is fully converted to the Gospel of Life.