Fr. Raymond J. de Souza

Fr. Raymond J. de Souza

Fr. Raymond J. de Souza is the pastor of Sacred Heart of Mary parish on Wolfe Island, and chaplain at Newman House at Kingston, Ont.’s Queen’s University.

Earlier this fall, the bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories released guidelines to help priests offer pastoral care to individuals and families contemplating voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide. The guidelines were fully Catholic, comprehensive, compassionate and courageous, as detailed then by Peter Stockland in these pages.

Where I am able to organize things — in my parish, at the chaplaincy — we sing Advent hymns in Advent. But otherwise, Christmas concerts are the order of the day by early December. And so it was that last Saturday I had the privilege of attending the annual Christmas concert of St. Michael’s Choir School in the afternoon at Massey Hall, and then the Christmas pageant (“Gaudy” to employ the local nomenclature) at Massey College in the evening.

Fidel Castro is dead. Canada’s prime minister, whose father was an admirer and friend of the tyrant, is struck with grief, but it is not widely shared. Fidel’s death is an advance for Cuba. A more significant step forward will be when Fidel’s brother Raul, to whom power was handed over in 2006, follows his brother into eternity.

The election of Donald Trump must have distressed Pope Francis. Or did it?

Is music part of the missionary activity of the Church? Or does it remain part of her internal life, as it were, reserved to the worship of God?

This week Toronto hosts the head of the largest of the Eastern Catholic Churches, Sviatoslav Shevchuk of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC). Within the UGCC, Shevchuk is referred to as the Patriarch of Kyiv, the common title for the head of an Eastern Catholic Church. Due to tensions with the Orthodox though, especially in Russia, the Holy See grants him the title of “major archbishop,” equivalent in all aspects to a patriarch.

For centuries there was only one Teresa, the Carmelite reformer who was canonized on March 12, 1622, in the single most impressive canonization in the history of the Church. Gregory XV crowned the Catholic Counter-Reformation that day, canonizing in one ceremony the great Teresa of Avila, along with St. Francis Xavier, St. Philip Neri and St. Ignatius Loyola.

KRAKÓW, POLAND – The most impressive moment of World Youth Day had to be at the Saturday evening vigil, with Pope Francis leading more than a million young people in praying the Divine Mercy chaplet before the Blessed Sacrament. Not only was it a powerful witness of prayer, invoking mercy upon the Church and the world, but a confirmation of the marvellous ways of Providence.

It’s become something of a routine now. Pope Francis delivers a spontaneous lambasting of priests who do this or that which he disapproves of, and priests get in touch to ask what we should make of it all.

ST. JOHN’S, NFLD. – There it was, on the front page of the St. John’s Telegram, a detailed discussion of the sacramental seal of the confessional, and rather fairly done too.