Toronto to join in canonization ceremonies

  • April 20, 2014

TORONTO - Before the sun rises on April 27, celebrations to honour the canonizations of Blesseds Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII will have already begun in the Archdiocese of Toronto.

At 3 a.m. parishioners at the Polish parish St. Eugene de Mazenod in Brampton, Ont., will witness the canonization of Pope John Paul II from the comfort of their pews. Through speakers and the church’s built-in viewing screens, they will connect in real time with their pastor Fr. Adam Filas who will broadcast live from St. Peter’s Square.

“The atmosphere at St. Peter’s will be brought to St. Eugene’s,” said Filas. “It’s a wonderful way of connecting with parishioners.”

Filas will be accompanied to Rome by about 100 pilgrims representing the different Polish parishes in the archdiocese. He will share their first-hand experiences in Rome with the parishioners at home.

At 4 a.m. St. Eugene’s live broadcast will turn off for the thanksgiving Mass for the pontificate of John Paul II.

On the birthday of the Polish Pope John Paul II, May 18, St. Eugene’s will invite the wider Polish community to continue celebrations as the parish unveils and blesses the outdoor divine mercy altar. At the same time, the parish will begin perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in its new chapel dedicated to St. John Paul II.

On April 27, St. Wilfrid’s in Toronto will celebrate the canonizations with a special multicultural Mass at noon where the prayers of the faithful will be spoken in two languages. Parishioners are invited to dress in traditional clothing from their cultural backgrounds for the Mass and are asked to donate traditional desserts from their countries of origin.

In honour of Blessed Pope John Paul II’s visits in 1984 and 2002 to the Downsview Park area, near St. Wilfrid’s, a bronze coated statue of the pontiff will be unveiled and blessed after Mass. It stands about two metres high near a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

St. Maximilian Kolbe in Mississauga will lead up to the canonizations with daily novenas from April 22 to 26. On April 25, the parish will begin “24 hours of adoration and thanksgiving for the gift of John Paul II, for his canonization,” said associate pastor Fr. Daniel Janulewicz. Adoration ends on the Saturday with Mass.

“John Paul II left such a great legacy of his contribution to Catholic teaching of the theology of the body, his work for human rights and deciding the dignity of the human person,” said Janulewicz. “I think it’s a heritage we treasure as Catholics and we ought to remember.”

Then on April 27, at St. Maximilian Kolbe, Bishop Wieslaw Smigiel from Pelplin, Poland, will preside over the Gift of Solemn Mass at 11 a.m.

That night, at 7 p.m, St. Bernadette’s Family Resource Centre will be celebrating the canonization of John Paul II with the Divine Mercy Chaplet and praise and worship. The event will take place at Don Bosco High School with funds going to support the centre’s mission to care for youth and adults with developmental disabilities.

On the evening of May 3, Catholic Family Radio, an Oblate media ministry, will host a Gala Concert at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre at Toronto’s Exhibition Place. John Paul II visited the Exhibition when he came to Canada, and that’s why the venue was chosen, said Fr. Marian Gil, provincial of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Assumption Province.

The gala will focus on classical music and notable performers include The Priests from Ireland.

“We want to describe the life of John XXIII and JohnPaul II to music and song,” Gil said.

Students at Blessed John XXIII Elementary School in Toronto will be celebrating the canonization during Catholic Education Week. On May 9, they will head to the church of the same name for Mass at 9:30 a.m. where Bishop William McGrattan and Fr. Simon de Gale will preside, said Anna Chiesa, principal of the school. Mass will be followed by a mini-concert and liturgical dance put on by the students and a blessing of and a portrait of John XXIII.

“I think he (John XXIII) was a really humble man,” said Chiesa. She cites the pontiff’s writings, including his daily decalogue of advice, as part of his legacy.

“He’s got a great sense of humour,” she said. “He’s said some really beautiful things that resonate with us in today’s society. Really life changing things that you can take with you.”

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