The Church of the Good Shepherd – A Sodality of the Anglican Use: Ordination of John Cornelius to the Order of Deacons: The Fellowship of St.
The Church of the Good Shepherd – A Sodality of the Anglican Use: Ordination of John Cornelius to the Order of Deacons: The Fellowship of St.
Hard to believe it’s been almost five months since the Archbishop of Toronto was elevated to the College of Cardinals. The year has seemed like a bit of a whirlwind with so many activities, events and issues taking place both locally, nationally and globally as they intersect with the church.
Some of the busiest workers in the vineyard of the Lord this year have been the staff at Salt + Light Catholic Television Network. Based in Toronto, the Canadian Catholic Television network, born on the wings of World Youth Day 2002 in Canada, continue to do incredible work, tirelessly producing faith programming on any number of topics. Teams from Salt + Light have traveled across Canada and around the globe this year.
CEO Fr. Tom Rosica was instrumental in the success of the consistory related events in Rome. If you’ve never been to the Vatican before, there is no better tour guide, security guard, media relations expert, clerical ambassador or translator among other qualities than Fr. Tom. If you think you’ve seen the Vatican, think again. He helps you discover every nook and cranny, helping make the pilgrimage one that you’ll never forget. The Swiss Guard who faithfully has served for more than a decade? Fr. Tom knows him. The vendor selling gelato for 5 Euros? Fr. Tom will point you towards Antonio a block away at half the price. It’s pretty amazing to see!
On a personal level, he was of immense help in our work with the media, facilitating interview space with our team and Cardinal Collins, jumping in for a few interviews with the secular press and providing unprecedented coverage of the elevation of a Canadian cardinal on Salt + Light Television.
If you visit the Salt + Light TV studios on any given day, you’ll also be struck by the number of young people who are engaged in this important ministry. Tireless in their efforts, joyful in their faith and ready to tackle any story on a moment’s notice, it’s been a pleasure having the opportunity to work with and alongside many of the Salt + Light staff over the years. It’s rare that a day or two goes by when we are not interacting with them on a particular initiative or story.
With a crowded television universe out there, hundreds of channels, plenty to choose from, we need to ensure that we support our Catholic media – whether it be radio, television or newspapers. It’s not an easy job – television, especially, is a costly venture and to keep up with the standards of secular broadcasters on a fraction of the budget isn’t easy. If you haven’t subscribed to Salt + Light, you’re missing out. Whether it’s coverage of a Vatican event, youth programming, daily Mass, news updates or coverage of significant events in the life of the Canadian church, there’s literally something for everyone. Subscription cost monthly is about a cup of coffee – the network will fill you up and also give you that “Catholic rush”, something caffeine just can’t do. You can find all the info you need on subscribing to Salt + Light here.
Another wonderful fruit of the Consistory 2012 is a five DVD set that has been produced by S + L that literally provides a keepsake of the experience from start to finish. It includes the Ordinary Public Consistory, where each Cardinal was formally elevated, along with Mass the following day in St. Peter’s Basilica, celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI with the new Cardinals.
The week leading up to the consistory is chronicled in the half hour special, “A Cardinal in the Making”. Also includes are four interviews with Cardinal Collins (2 in English, one each in french and italian). The DVD set also contains three special liturgies celebrated by Cardinal Collins following the Consistory: a Mass of Thanksgiving in the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica, a Mass of Thanksgiving in St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto and Solemn Evening Prayer in the Cardinal’s hometown parish church of Our Lady Immaculate in Guelph, Ontario. It’s the most comprehensive documentation of those wonderful days earlier this year. You can find all the information on how to order the DVD set here.
Most recently, in Dublin, I had the chance to see S + L hard at work once again, providing coverage of the International Eucharistic Congress and sharing their work with dozens of countries around the world. Fr. Tom also took time to offer a couple of workshops, one on “Is there a Catholic media?” that is definitely worth a look. You can view the video of the session here.
As we approach the 10th anniversary of World Youth Day in our country, we give thanks for the gift of Salt + Light, providing a Catholic voice in the saturated world of mass media, a witness of young people committed to their faith and a beacon of hope providing spiritual nourishment from coast to coast.
So while most would say we have to be careful about just how much “salt” we have in our diet, in this case, I’d say “indulge”. You’ll be healthier for it..
In many ways Thursday was a “tale of two cities” in Dublin at the International Eucharistic Congress. For the Toronto delegation, we started our day off by making a pilgrimage to the Newman Centre in Dublin for Mass with Cardinal Collins. It was an opportunity for our pilgrims to come together in fellowship, prayer and unity.
His Eminence reminded us that the very church in which we celebrated was created in part by funds from those who supported John Henry Newman in his battle against government authorities who were in many different ways, persecuting the church.
We experienced first hand local hospitality when the pastor of the parish opened his doors to allow us to celebrate Mass, following it up by providing tea and biscuits for everyone gathered. We were humbled by the hospitality. Yet upon departure we passed on funds collected to offer a gesture of our appreciation to the parish – about $700 was raised and the parish priest indicated that it would take him many months to raise this amount. So in many ways, we were able to support one another, just as the original “friends” of Newman were able to do so many years ago.
Following Mass we made our way on foot to a meeting of all Canadian delegates at a hotel ballroom close to the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) Congress Centre. A quick side note, it’s impressive to see so many of our pilgrims doing the extensive walking involved in this pilgrimage. With many in their 70′s there are little or no complaints when walking between 5 and 10 km every day. With a smile and nod, they always seem to take up the challenge to go that extra mile (or kilometer)…
While not all the Canadian pilgrims were in attendance at our national gathering, more than 500 made the trek, from coast to coast. We had the opportunity to come together with song, prayer, sharing and reflections from some of the 20 or so Canadian bishops who were present with us. We had the chance to hear from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops President, Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton and Primate of Canada, Quebec Archbishop Gerald Lacroix, who reminded us joyfully that “ordinary time is when we’re at our best”. “While we enjoy the pinnacle of Easter and Christmas, it’s ordinary time where we do most of the heavy lifting without any fanfare or hype. It’s great to be part of ordinary time. Let’s make it anything but ordinary.”
At the main grounds of the IEC, today’s theme was “Reconciliation in our Communion”. As mentioned in these pages before, the Irish church is in great pain and hopefully the congress is the beginning of a new chapter in its history. Today’s Mass was celebrated by Irish Primate, Sean Cardinal Brady. Workshops throughout the day also focused on themes of forgiveness.
The witness talk Thursday afternoon was given by Richard Moore, founder of the charity, Children in Crossfire. He spoke powerfully of his experience being shot by a British Army soldier in Northern Ireland in 1972 at the age of 10. He was left permanently blinded and later in life, sought out the man who fired the bullet, ultimately meeting up with him for a four hour meeting where Richard forgave the man who took away his sight forever.
As Richard said, “I am a victim of violence. I can’t change that. But I refuse to be a victim of anger and hatred. Forgiveness won’t change the past but it will change the future.”
At Mass, Cardinal Brady continued the day’s theme, acknowledging the sins of the church and seeking forgiveness. He also provided food for thought with poignant words in his homily:
“One of my hopes for this Congress is that more and more enemies will begin speaking to each other, more and more adversaries will begin to shake hands, more and more opponents may meet and simply talk.”
Powerful words that we should all take to heart. It is not easy to forgive, it is not easy to substitute love in place of anger, it’s not easy to accept someone when they’ve hurt us.
Yet do we want to carry hate and anger with us day to day? Rocks in our pockets that weigh us down? It is not easy to forgive but as we learned from the personal witness talks and homily today, Jesus calls us to do just that.
Plenty of food for thought at the IEC Thursday and more importantly, reflections to take back and apply to our everyday lives and relationships.
We pray today for all those who have been hurt and those who hurt us, may we find peace, love and forgiveness in those moments where it may seem impossible. Fellowship and reconciliation in Dublin – a day of discovery and hope for all!
Four years after thousands made their way to Quebec City and the Plains of Abraham for the 49th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC), a country looking for healing and renewal kicked off the 50th edition of what some refer to as “World Youth Day” for adults on Sunday, June 10 in Dublin, Ireland.
As past hosts, the Canadian delegation is the largest outside of Irish pilgrims, with 900 Canucks in attendance. The Archdiocese of Toronto has 90 delegates attending this year’s IEC. All arrived safely after night-time flights Friday and we are also blessed to have Cardinal Thomas Collins, Toronto Auxiliary Bishop John Boissonneau and about a dozen priests attending this special gathering with us.
Most activities are taking place at the RDS (Royal Dublin Society) Congress Centre, a 15 minute train ride from the centre of the city. Cheerful volunteers are present throughout the city, at the airport and in full force at the RDS.
Today’s opening ceremonies were the culmination of four years of efforts to prep for the IEC. Bear in mind, this has been a tough last number of years for Irish Catholics, dealing with the revelations of widespread clerical abuse, devastating the largely Catholic country and prompting an official Apostolic Visitation to begin the pastoral healing of a church looking for answers, renewal and the courage to carry on.
It was clear from the opening moments of the Congress that the abuse story would not be ignored. A prayer of healing (written by survivors of abuse) was read before the start of Mass and is marked on a large granite “Healing Stone”, featured prominently just beside the main altar/stage that will be used throughout the week’s events.
Father Kevin Doran, Secretary General of IEC2012, said: “Stone speaks of permanence. To say something is ‘carved in stone’ is to say that it is here to stay rather than just a passing thought. The stone represents the firm determination to work for healing and renewal”.
The pilgrim symbol for this year’s IEC is the Eucharistic bell, traveling throughout the country to more than 1,000 churches over the last year. Like the World Youth Day Cross, pilgrims have taken the bell to prisons, hospitals, churches and other celebrations where evangelization is needed. The bell is even set up throughout the Congress where pilgrims can have their photo taken with it, pray before it and ring the bell – you hear constant single bell rings throughout the day, a soothing reminder of each pilgrim’s call to proclaim the Good News.
The Opening Ceremonies featured representatives from every diocese in the country, led by their local bishop, joining in a procession, populating the assembly with a crowd that was reported as 12,500 strong.
The traditional Irish rain held off Sunday with the opening taking place in an outdoor arena more accustomed to equestrian and rugby events, this week providing a centerpiece for Catholics from countries around the world to gather, pray, share and reflect.
The IEC is also competing for attention and space in the local media with the Euro 2012 Football (Soccer) Championships with Ireland losing their first match Sunday evening, dampening local spirits along with those congress “band-wagon” fans who can’t seem to travel anywhere without being immersed in a sea of green and orange.
The week will unfold with literally hundreds of events, workshops and speakers. Each day will include a plenary talk, witness reflection and Eucharistic Celebration.
Today’s Mass was celebrated by the Papal representative for the Congress, Canadian Cardinal Marc-Andre Ouellet, previous host of the 2008 IEC before his appointment to head the Congregation of Bishops at the Vatican.
So all in all, a very busy day, pilgrims still acclimatizing themselves to European time and the launch of a special celebration that promises to bear much fruit for the people of Ireland and all those in attendance.
The last Eucharistic Congress to come to the country was held in 1932 so it’s safe to say the Irish are due for this historic occasion once again. To all those involved in the planning, pilgrims participating and those engaged virtually throughout the world, we offer our prayers for a week of blessings and renewal for all.
On your mark, get set, let’s go…this pilgrimage is underway and Ireland has opened its arms to the world!
Location:Little Strand St,Dublin,Ireland
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Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
Permanent deacons have also increased
Deacons play an important part in the life of the Church
but despite the tradition of deacons dating back many centuries, today’s
parishioners remain confused or ignorant of the duties and responsibilities of a
deacon, and their contribution to parish life.
misunderstand the role of a deacon while others are not aware deacons, who are
usually married with families, are even part of the Catholic Church,” says
Bernard Toutounji, Executive Officer of the Archdiocese of Sydney’s Permanent
However Bernard and the Archdiocese are determined to change this
and on Saturday, 12 May will host an information afternoon at the Seminary of
the Good Shepherd, Homebush on the vocation, formation and role of a
“We are inviting all those interested in finding out more about the
Archdiocese’s Permanent Diaconate and those who are considering a possible
vocation as a deacon,” says Bernard, emphasising that the invitation is not only
for men but their wives as well.
“As most Deacons are married with families
of their own, the decision to pursue a vocation with the Diaconate affects the
entire family and a wife’s support is all important, he says.
Deacon Paul Naggar
whose wife Julianne is
on the Diaconate
needs the encouragement, understanding and full-hearted support of his wife as
well as the rest of the family while undergoing the four year period of
formation and discernment, Bernard explains, as well as during the years after
his ordination when he is called on to serve a parish or ministry.
“A wife is
the backbone and if she isn’t okay with her husband answering the call, then we
would not proceed.”
Such is the importance the Archdiocese plays on a wife’s
support, not only are they encouraged to come along with their husbands to
formation but the Archdiocese Diaconate Advisory Committee who will decide on
this year’s candidates includes two women. One is Sister Isabell Naumann ISSM
STD and the other is Mrs Julianne Naggar of Liverpool, NSW. Mrs Naggar is
married to Deacon Paul Naggar from the Archdiocese and has long experience as
the wife of a Deacon and what this means.
“Unlike priests, a permanent deacon
maintains his professional as well as his family life while serving the Church,”
Bernard says and believes this is one of the reasons for the frequent confusion
over a deacon’s role in a parish or allocated ministry.
Another reason for
ignorance about a deacons’ role, could be put down to numbers. Currently there
are just 35,000 deacons worldwide compared with almost half a million priests.
Although deacons have been ordained and served the Church since the second
and third century, in the west the numbers of permanent deacons gradually
declined, and deacons became associated primarily with seminarians who were
ordained and worked as deacons during the last year or two before their
ordination as priests.
But after the Second Vatican Council called for a
reinstatement and revitalisation of the tradition, numbers have begun to
Two years ago, the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell
re-established the Archdiocese’s Permanent Diaconate and appointed Bishop Julian
Porteous, Episcopal Vicar of Evangelisation and Renewal as Director and Bernard
Toutounji as Executive Officer.
Curremt Diaconate Aspirants and Wives from left
Sue and John Kelly, Kayshinee and Aruna Perera,
Meagher Director of Formation, Eddie
and Anne Ho, Rita and Mervyn
At the time, the Archdiocese had five hard-working, dedicated
and permanent deacons, all of whom had been ordained in the 1990s. But since the
Permanent Diaconate was re-established, there have been an increased interest
and a growing number of applications from men of faith to become candidates for
holy order of Deacons.
Currently four men – all married – are in formation
and set to be ordained as deacons in 2013-14. A further three are currently
undertaking preliminary studies at the Catholic Institute of Sydney at
Pope Benedict XVI explains that the word deacon literally means
“servant” and that the original role of a deacon was to serve the poor. But in
modern times, he says deacons serve a new poverty which is describes as a
“spiritual and cultural poverty.”
Some of a deacon’s duties are similar to
those of a parish priest. He is an official minister in the liturgy and is
entitled to carry out baptisms, celebrate marriages and officiate at funerals.
However a deacon is not permitted to celebrate Mass, nor is he permitted to hear
“A deacon is one who brings the face of Christ in a unique way
into his work, family and recreational life and can be an important link for
people into the life of the Church,” Bernard says.
To find out more about the
information afternoon to be held at the Seminary of the Good Shepherd on 12 May
log on to
can also email the Office of the Permanent Diaconate at
call 02 9390 5941.
Hard to believe that it’s been almost 8 days since we arrived in Rome to begin the countdown to the elevation of 22 shepherds to the College of Cardinals.
Monday was Family Day back home in Ontario – hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend and some quality time with loved ones. You might say the same about our final day in Rome. The family of pilgrims that has come together for these blessed days came together one final time for a day that capped off a memorable week of memories and blessings.
We started the day off with Mass at 7:15 a.m. at the Tomb of St. Peter. The rock on whom the church was built, those in leadership have a special fondness for St. Peter ever mindful that they are the successors of the apostles in their role as bishops throughout the world. For a cardinal, it’s even more significant in that they, one day, will also have the hefty responsibility of selecting the next Pontiff.
While the chapel beneath the main altar at St. Peter’s is ideally designed for about 100 people, we still managed to squeeze close to double that around the altar. We started the pilgrimage last Wednesday morning with Mass at the Teutonic College surrounded by graves and perhaps it was fitting that we ended up beside the tombs of the Popes and leaders of the church who have gone before us. It’s a potent reminder that we are all given just a brief time in this world to do what we can with our gifts and talents. We walk away from the pilgrimage reflecting on how we can transform the words of the gospel into tangible care and support for one another…
22 men were chosen by the Holy Father for their own example of dedication to their faith and willingness to share it with the world. Their scarlet robes remind them that those who have come before them have even shed their blood for it.
As Cardinal Collins mentioned numerous times throughout the week, whether in speeches, homilies or media interviews, we can’t take our faith for granted. Hundreds of thousands around the world have been persecuted, tortured and killed for proclaiming their faith – the least we can do is practice ours day in and out. As we move into this Lenten season, we have an opportunity this Ash Wednesday to bear witness to the sign of our faith through the ashes that are given to us on the first day of Lent.
Before wrapping up the morning, we had the chance to participate in the Monday Private Audience with the Holy Father that’s a tradition following the consistory weekend. While it’s termed private, there were still about 4,000 people in attendance – no tickets required – generally, it’s a gathering of the delegations of the new cardinals – one last chance to affirm them, support them and, of course to see Pope Benedict.
Each of the Class of 2012 was given two tickets to bring up the people of their choosing to meet the Holy Father. Cardinal Collins selected his sisters, Patricia and Catharine. For the Cardinal, it was the fourth time this week he met briefly with the Holy Father face to face. It was a jovial atmosphere in the Paul VI Audience Hall with flags waving and groups cheering the video replay of their favorite cardinal being displayed on the “Catholictron” video screen.
Following the audience, which only lasted about 40 minutes, we had the cardinal conduct his final media interviews this week, guesting on Canada AM and speaking to Global TV, City and Rogers radio stations throughout Ontario and Alberta as well as a quick sit down with Vatican Radio.
This evening, the delegation enjoyed a wonderful final meal, a fitting way to thank and express our prayerful support for His Eminence. There were kind words from a number of speakers including Bishop Anthony Tonnos (retired Bishop of Hamilton), the bishop who ordained Father Collins as Bishop, sharing thoughts about being moved to tears when hearing of the elevation of then Archbishop Collins to the College of Cardinals.
All in all a beautiful end to a week that was full of emotion, laughter, fellowship and faith.
We often feel frustrated if the secular media doesn’t cover the “good news” of the church. Well at last count there were well over 1500 articles this week that, almost in their entirety, celebrated the elevation of Canada’s newest cardinal. They showed him waving as he Skyped Grade 3 students and his former high school, they laughed with him as he donned a Leafs jersey in St. Peter’s Square and they followed closely the rich historical ceremonies at the Vatican, speaking with the new cardinal, pilgrims and others about the experience.
In short, they helped tell the story and that’s exactly what we mean when we say we need to evangelize to both the gathered and the scattered. Who knows how these stories will impact our community down the road?
Now to us, those of us on pilgrimage. We have our own responsibility – to not cradle this pilgrimage in our hands and hide it from others. We need to speak about the experience, how it enriched our faith, how it gave us pride in our Catholic family, reminded us of our own ups and downs on the journey, of how we all have a responsibility to be shepherds in our own little way.
So Happy Family Day – this year’s holiday was a little different for us. We were part of an adopted family of pilgrims who won’t soon forget how it’s not about the destination but, rather, the journey. It’s always a good reminder – a pilgrimage can be extremely challenging yet very rewarding. Braving large crowds, elbows and obstructed views or no views at all; little sleep, ceremonies in a foreign language and rain pouring down at times.
Would we do it all again? In a second.
So thank you to Pope Benedict XVI, our spiritual father, Cardinal Collins our local guardian and all the “siblings” and “cousins” that supported one another over this past week. It was exhilarating, frustrating, joyful, challenging and everything in between. Would we do it all again? In a second.
If you feel that life needs the jumper cables to provide a spiritual reboot, a pilgrimage isn’t a bad place to start. We had just such an experience this week. After all we’ve witnessed in Rome, the car won’t need a tune up for a while…
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Well an historic day would not be overstating the scene at St. Peter’s Square, Basilica and all points surrounding today as 22 new cardinals were created by Pope Benedict XVI. It’s with special pride that Canada and the Archdiocese of Toronto welcome Thomas Cardinal Collins as our 4th cardinal in Toronto’s diocesan history and 16th in Canadian history.
The day started early for the pilgrims who lined up around St. Peter’s Square from about 6:30 a.m. onwards. A lineup at the Vatican has an amazing way of growing wider by the minute and by the time we entered through the first security check point, it was clear that a funnel had formed and regardless of your arrival time, the departure point of said funnel depended on one’s jostling, shuffling, elbowing and shimmying abilities.
About 8,000 people made their way to seats inside the church, yes, it was like midnight Mass with plenty of scarves, hats, coats, socks and maybe even a shoe holding other seats in reserve. Those who didn’t make it inside the church including about 40 of our delegation, settled for the consolation prize. While it’s not ideal to be outside of the main draw, sitting on chairs with large video screens, St. Peter’s Basilica as your backdrop with blue skies, warm sun shining down and plenty of room to move around isn’t a bad second spot to be in the world.
The ceremony, streamlined into one day for the first time, included bestowing symbols of the cardinals’ office on each new member: biretta (red hat) and ring. Each cardinal had the chance to approach the Holy Father and have a short exchange with him before receiving the symbols of their membership in the college before receiving brief congratulations from each member of the College of Cardinals.
Following the consistory ceremony, there were short prayers and the announcement that seven new saints would be canonized on October 21, 2012 including Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, of particular pride to the people of our first nations and many other Canadian and American catholics.
After the Vatican red hat celebrations, we made our way to the Pontifical Canadian College where priests from our country studying in Rome reside. They put on a lovely affair, with the sun shining and the garden accessible for the 200 or so in attendance, including the official gov’t delegation. The new cardinal held a brief media scrum before greeting guests and taking plenty of pics in his new vestments.
Following a little break, the Cardinal made his way to the Paul VI Audience Hall for the traditional courtesy visits, providing an opportunity for anyone at the Vatican to stop by and say hello to the newest red hats. It was quite a sight to see with some visitors stopping by and bringing gifts, prayer cards, best wishes with many current cardinals stopping by to say hello (including former Quebec City Cardinal Ouellet below).
The Vatican Arts Patrons also generously hosted a private tour of the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel for the North American delegations (Toronto, NEw York, Baltimore). Considering the total # of pilgrims of all these delegations topped about 2,000 people it was hardly an intimate affair but certainly an opportunity to see some of the most beautiful pieces of art this side of the ocean.
This evening, I spent about 2.5 hours with the new cardinal facilitating interviews with media across Canada. Cardinal Collins has been a real trouper for us this week, giving most generously of his time and saying yes at every point when we’ve asked him to chat with journalists. Emanuel Pires, who’s been taking incredible photos throughout the pilgrimage, was busy working away, editing the pics you’re seeing on this blog and our Tumblr page, many which have been picked up by the media to use in their own publications. We’ve also had plenty of our pilgrims say yes to assisting us with the many media moments this week. A lot of work and some very long days but great to have the cooperation of so many on these initiatives.
So our delegation has been busy to say the least. With Mass pegged for 9:30 a.m. Sunday, it will be another early morning, likely with some new line strategies to get to the front as quickly as possible.
To all those who have been following us virtually or through media articles, offering prayers and well wishes, we’re especially grateful. Most importantly, we rejoice on this historic day for the blessings and graces that God has provided to the Archdiocese of Toronto and the church in Canada.
Let’s seize this energy and translate it to our own faith journey – perhaps it is the spark that lights the flame within, to motivate us for a spiritual reboot or to push us to the next level on the path.
So for a small-town boy from Guelph to a bishop who carried around a red bible (because the bible needs to be read as he says), there’s some more red in your life after today. It’s a bright colour that stands out in the crowd – just like the ones who were recognized today. May they wear it well…
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