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.

VATICAN CITY - Canonization week in Rome served as something of an informal annual general meeting. The universal Church was catching up with herself after a momentous year since Conclave 2013, and everyone was talking about our new Holy Father. Over these weeks, I hope to share with readers some of what I heard about Francis’ reforming papacy from those in Rome from around the world.

VATICAN CITY - Canonization week in Rome was about more than just the new papal saints. With three-quarters of the College of Cardinals in attendance, hundreds of bishops and Catholic scholars and commentators in abundance, it was akin to an informal annual general meeting. The universal Church was catching up with herself after a momentous year since Conclave 2013, the last time the whole gang was together.

VATICAN CITY - Permit, if you will indulge me, a lapse into autobiography. That was, after all, one of the signal achievements of St. John Paul II, that his biography became part of so many autobiographies. The story of his life shaped the story of so many lives.

ROME - John Paul will be canonized a saint on Divine Mercy Sunday, just as he was beatified in 2011 on Divine Mercy Sunday. It is not just because he designated the Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday in the great jubilee year 2000, but because of his extraordinarily providential death in 2005.

April 17, 2014

Who is this man?

Palm Sunday this year began with the fundamental question being asked in Matthew 21: “And when He entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, ‘Who is this?’ ”

When in Rome for the 2013 conclave, one heard frequently enough the quip that Latin America had had its best week in history. On March 5, Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s thuggish dictator, died, having reduced his petro-rich country to a barter economy suffering from acute toilet paper shortages.

April 2 was the ninth anniversary of the death of Blessed John Paul II and the first “Pope John Paul II Day” in the province of Ontario. A private member’s bill passed by the Ontario legislature last month designated April 2 as a day to honour the soon to be saint. It’s a worthy initiative and a timely reminder to remember the late pontiff’s teachings.

The Fourth Sunday of Lent is Laetare Sunday — the Sunday of rejoicing, complete with rose vestments to lighten the Lenten purple. It complements Gaudete Sunday — the Third Sunday of Advent — but poses a puzzle.

The Big Bang has captured the scientific and popular mind as the spectacular beginning of the entire universe. There is even an eponymous sitcom which, to judge from what is available on airplanes, might just be the most popular television program ever made.

I was a little nervous about Pope Francis’ meeting with the clergy of Rome last week. As a seminarian and a new priest, I always looked forward to Blessed John Paul’s annual Holy Thursday letter to priests. To my disappointment, Pope Benedict XVI did not continue that tradition, but replaced it with an annual encounter with the clergy of Rome in the first days of Lent. Pope Francis opted this year to continue Benedict’s practice, and so met with the parish priests of Rome last week.