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.

Fifty years ago Blessed Paul VI went to Jerusalem — the first papal trip outside Italy in our time, inaugurating the practice of apostolic journeys — to meet Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople, primus inter pares of all the Orthodox patriarchs. It was a historic moment that, after nearly a millennia of separation, the Bishop of Rome, Successor of St. Peter and universal pastor of the Church, would meet with the Patriarch of Constantinople, the “New Rome,” successor of St. Andrew and ecumenical patriarch of all Orthodoxy.

Give a gift of Ratzinger's brilliance

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The beginning of a new liturgical year is a suitable time to think about the liturgy in a broader and deeper way. Two recent books from Ignatius Press help us to do so in a devout and scholarly way. They are not for the casual reader, but parishioners looking to challenge their priests with some serious reading this Christmas would do well to consider them as gifts.

Merciful Father is always present

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One of the highlights of the year just ending was the canonization of the greatest pope and dominant religious figure of our times, John Paul II. Over the years I had attended many such events as a reporter or broadcaster in the media section, but I thought that this time I would take it in as a pilgrim. That meant arriving in St. Peter’s Square some four hours or so before the Mass began. How to spend those hours in a suitably pious and productive way? After all, the breviary and rosary don’t take that long, even at a leisurely pace. 

Never too late to listen to Pope Benedict XVI

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One of the world’s wisest voices was not heard during the synod fortnight in Rome. His time to speak publicly is definitively past, but it behooves the Church to listen now to what he said then. 

Will the Church finally surrender to the sexual revolution?

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The world has waited almost 50 years for the day, but is it on the horizon? 

Fr. Gravel pursued agenda of rebellion

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Fr. Raymond Gravel died on the feast of St. Clare and was buried on Assumption day with great laudations from Quebec’s political class. The flag at Montreal city hall was lowered to half-mast by order of the mayor, and former Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe spoke at the funeral Mass. 

Msgr. Foy knew what was at stake

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Last week I wrote about ordination of a friend for the Archdiocese of Kingston. Priestly ordinations are joyful occasions. They are not as common as they should be, but they are not rare. This coming Saturday something truly rare will be celebrated when Msgr. Vincent Foy will celebrate the 75th anniversary of his priestly ordination, which took place on June 3, 1939. 

Who is this man?

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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?’ ”

Pope’s ministers of mercy

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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.

Israel’s outlook must be seen through a biblical lens

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JERUSALEM - I have been to Israel more than a dozen times — as a pilgrim, leading pilgrimages, with my family, on a private retreat, for Christmas, for Holy Week, for board meetings, for the papal visit of 2009 — but never for something quite like this. I was invited to be part of the official delegation accompanying Prime Minister Stephen Harper on his visit this week to Israel and the Palestinian Authority (West Bank).

The world was present for Christ’s birth

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KINGSTON, ONT. - Local Catholic Tony Vella had an effective evangelizing idea. How to remind local schoolchildren about the birth of Jesus amid the commercial clutter of the season? The St. Paul the Apostle parishioner thought that the best way to remind children about Jesus was to show them, well, Jesus.