Priests from around Canada and the United States were present for this year’s Foundation Day May 4, including Bishop Scott McCaig, CC, of the Military Ordinariate of Canada, and Bishop Christian Riesbeck, CC, auxiliary bishop of Ottawa.

Companions of the Cross prepare for “something big” with magazine launch

  • May 9, 2018

As the Companions of the Cross marked its Foundation Day May 4, General Superior Fr. Allan MacDonald said he believed God has something in new in mind for the 33-year-old priestly community.

“He is preparing our community for something. Something great,” MacDonald said. But what it is, “He hasn’t told me yet.”

MacDonald said he sees signs of the Lord’s preparation in the financial contributions the Companions are receiving, the new members being attracted and in lives being significantly impacted by the Gospel.

In anticipation of God’s plans unfolding, the Companions launched a new quarterly magazine called Gaudium May 4, named in honour of Pope Francis’ “consistent call to be joyful, missionary disciples,” MacDonald said. “It’s part of a new springtime in our lives.”

The magazine’s three-fold purpose is to inspire, inform and equip people for the new evangelization, he said. 

The unveiling was part of the annual Foundation Day marking the Order’s commemoration of three “words of knowledge” believed to have been received from God that led the Companions’ late founder Fr. Bob Bedard and the small group of men that had gathered around him to establish an order of priests that would work and live together in community.

The first word in 1984 led the men around Fr. Bob to recognize the Lord was calling them to maintain their bonds even after ordination, so they started to call each other brothers.  The second word in early 1985 informed the community they were meant to work together in a “bold new action.”

The third word came around Easter of 1985, when one of the men told the gathering: “'I don’t know how the rest of you will react to this. It seems a bit far out, but I really feel the Lord wants these brothers to live together.”

This word was confirmed by others immediately and led to Fr. Bedard’s seeking canonical status for the new order, according to the Companions’ website.

The little band gathered in 1985 had no idea at the time how the Companions would grow to nearly 40 priests, produce two bishops and attract 20 seminarians.

Priests from around Canada and the United States were present for this year’s commemoration, including Bishop Scott McCaig, CC, of the Military Ordinariate of Canada, and Bishop Christian Riesbeck, CC, auxiliary bishop of Ottawa.

“For us in the Companions of the Cross, living in community is essential to our charism,” Bishop Riesbeck said in a homily at the Foundation Day Mass.

The “obvious love among the brothers” was what attracted him to the priesthood with the Companions as a young man in 1990, he said. “I was called to embrace a common life.”

“Our ministry is made more fruitful by living and working together,” he said.

Just as families are schools of love, called to be domestic churches, “our brotherhood, our Companions of the Cross Community is a school of love,” Riesbeck said.

On May 5, Fr. Alexander Collautti, CC, was ordained to the priesthood at Notre Dame Cathedral.  He will serve at St. Benedict’s Parish in Halifax.

Collautti, the second youngest of five children, grew up in Windsor, Ont.  In an interview, he said he had grown up in a Catholic family but as a young man had drifted away from the faith while in university. His mother offered him a trip to Medjugorje, and it was there he had a life-changing experience with God that set him on the road to the priesthood.

While standing outside a confessional and wrestling with whether to go inside or not, Collautti said he suddenly had an awareness of his sinfulness and how much his sin hurt those he loved. This awareness was coupled with an awareness that God had taken these sins to the cross, and of His overwhelming love for him.

Collautti said he entered the confessional, experienced the cleansing love of God, and came out a changed man, with a new direction for his life.

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