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.

I am looking forward to my next visit to Holy Family Church on King Street West in Toronto. It was my home for two years in the 1990s when I was a student at St. Philip’s Seminary, which is attached to the parish. 

Thanks to the excellent coverage by Salt + Light Television, I was able to follow the “Catholica 200” celebrations in St. Boniface, Man., marking the bicentennial of the arrival of the first French missionaries in the Canadian West. 

The summer of 1968, with France undergoing a social revolution and America burning, was not a congenial time for a reaffirmation of traditional morality in face of the sexual revolution. But the courageous Blessed Paul VI did just that in his encyclical Humanae Vitae, published 50 years ago this month.

Next month will mark the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, the 1968 encyclical of Blessed Paul VI which  reaffirmed the immorality of contraception at a time when many in the Church and the world expected a change.

A former student sent me a notice that caught my attention, for both artistic and pious reasons. The Cantata Singers of Ottawa will be at St. Joseph’s Church later this month where the entire program will consist of settings of the brief Eucharistic and Marian hymn, Ave Verum, including those of Lassus, Byrd, Mozart, Elgar, Liszt, Saint-Saëns and Poulenc. 

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CEO of Salt & Light Catholic Media Foundation, published a blistering assessment of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the pages of a Jesuit magazine, identifying in practice what Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger memorably called the “dictatorship of relativism.”

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.