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.

In January, I had the great blessing of preaching at the Holy Mass for the relic of St. Francis Xavier in the parish in Mississauga named after him. There was an immense congregation, and in the very first pews were various political figures from the federal Parliament, provincial legislature and city hall.

OTTAWA – On Feb. 2 in Ottawa’s Notre Dame Cathedral, I knew we would have a special liturgical experience. After all, a new altar for the cathedral was being dedicated, a beautiful rite that only happens once or twice in the life of a church. What I didn’t expect was something utterly and wholly unique.
The visit of the relic of St. Francis Xavier to the Mississauga, Ont., parish named after him will likely be the largest Catholic event of the year in Canada. Numbers are not the most important part of any pilgrimage, but they do tell part of the story. And the 13,000-plus pilgrims that came to St. Francis Xavier parish to honour their patron is an important story about the state of the Church in Canada.
The relic of St. Francis Xavier is making a Canada-wide visit this month. It began with stops in Quebec City, St. John’s, Nfld., Halifax and Kingston, and visits the Toronto area before heading to the four Western provinces.

We are blessed on Wolfe Island with a magnificent church — more like a cathedral, visitors often say. Dedicated to our Lady under the title of the Sacred Heart of Mary, it was built in 1916-1917, and dedicated in June 1918. I had begun thinking a few years back how to mark the centennial.

In a democratic age, we need to be reminded that the governing image of Christ Jesus is kingship, a biblical image of deep resonance.
Anniversaries of importance for the universal Church have abounded this year — 500 years since the Reformation, 100 years since Fatima, 25 years since the Catechism of the Catholic Church. For me though, two more modest anniversaries — 10 years — were celebrated this past fortnight.

A celebration planned by the Canadian Goan Christian Group for St. Joseph’s parish in Mississauga on Oct. 14 will highlight the role that immigrants play in keeping the Church in Canada alive and vibrant.

OTTAWA – On the main route travelled by the Prince of Wales from Rideau Hall toward the teepee on Parliament Hill for Canada’s sesquicentennial celebrations at the beginning of July, it was notable that the banners flying from the light standards were not for Canada 150, but for the centennial of Vimy Ridge. Looked upon with biblical eyes, it was a reminder that covenants have to be ratified, to be paid for as it were, and the payment is in blood.

The death on May 31 of Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, patriarch emeritus of Kyiv, former head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), resonated in Canada where, outside of Ukraine, the largest Ukrainian Catholic community is found.