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.
Recent developments regarding the Catholic Church in China brought to mind the Canadian visit of the Chinese Church’s most outspoken pastor in 2013.
On Feb. 6, Queen Elizabeth II marked 65 years on the throne. It’s the “sapphire” jubilee, a designation which I did not know; 65th anniversaries are rare enough, but welcome as reminders that enduring fidelity is possible. The anniversary, not marked with any great festivity given the celebrations of the Queen’s 90th birthday last year, also has something of a reminder of the liturgical seasons.
My first thought, upon hearing the news of the massacre at the mosque in Ste. Foy, was that there must be a special place in hell for those who kill men at prayer, all the moreso in a house of worship.
I have crossed paths with Bishop Frederick Henry for nearly 20 years on visits to my family in Calgary. He has always been kind to me, made me welcome in his diocese and I have enjoyed the occasions we have had time to talk.
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.
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.