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  WE NEED MORE THAN A SIGHT… WE NEED A VISION!

In 2019 Apple TV+ featured a TV series called “See”. The story begins with an introduction that in the early twenty-first century, a virus wiped out all but two million people, those surviving having lost their sense of sight. “See” takes place several centuries later, where society has found new ways to socially interact, build, hunt, and survive without the sense of sight. However, everything has challenged when a set of twins were born being able to see with their eyes. This sat in motion a number of dramatic events, journey of survival, but also the sense of hope for better future. Early on it also became obvious that the gift of sight might have changed everything, but it wasn’t everything. They often missed the clues, trusted wrong people or couldn’t noticed the intentions of others. They were able to see, but weren’t observant. They needed more than a sight… You needed a vision! “Where there is no vision, the people perish” Proverbs 29:18 Thankfully the prophesy of the movie hasn’t been fulfilled in our real life. Modern science has eliminated many of the diseases that cause blindness. And we have invented all kinds of devices to improve our seeing. We have ordinary glasses, bifocals, magnifying glasses, field glasses, telescopes, microscopes ... We can see more and farther than ever before. But the question is, how well do we see? Bartimaeus from today’s Gospel was suffering from physical blindness. But there are other forms of blindness. We acknowledge this when we say, “I was completely in the dark,” or “It suddenly dawned on me” or “It was right in front of me but I couldn't see it.” To see well, good eyesight alone is not sufficient. We need more than a sight… We need a vision! There are many forms of blindness besides physical blindness. Selfishness might blind us to the needs of others. Ignorance might blind us to the hurt we’re causing to others. Prejudice might blind us to the true dignity of another person. It is not with the eyes only that we see. We also “see” with the mind, the heart, and the imagination. A narrow mind, a small heart, an impoverished imagination– all of these lead to loss of vision, darken our lives, and shrink our world. May Bartimaeus’ prayer, “My teacher, let me see again”, become ours, so we will be able to embrace God’s vision for our lives. In discerning our vocation, meaning and purpose in life, God offers to us guiding signs, clues and insights. But we have to be able to see and read them! To answer God’s call we need more than an eyesight… We need a vision! By Jarek Pachocki OMI Vocation Director 




IT IS NOT GOOD TO BE ALONE

The Bible says, “It is not good for a human being to be alone.”

 But in fact, sometimes it is good for us to be alone, but not as a permanent condition. The final and greatest creation of God is the human person.  Basically, human beings are social by nature. We are incomplete all by ourselves and so we need others.

 First, God gave Adam all the animals and beasts, but Adam was not able to find a suitable partner. Then God gave Adam a woman, Eve. As soon as Adam saw Eve, he recognised in her a true companion, helper and fitting partner. Eve was made of the same material as himself, possessed the same dignity as himself and was his equal. When Adam saw the woman, he expressed two significant truths about the meaning of being human. First, the truth of difference: namely, man is different from woman. The second is the truth of oneness. This desire for unity and difference is the heart of human community. In fact, true community can be created only among equals.  Thus, Adam exclaimed, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh…”  God created us for community which means that we need one another.

 Marriage is the most explicit expression of this unity, “the two of them become one flesh.”  But the deep desire for unity with God and others is true for all human beings, even if they do not marry. In teaching about marriage, Jesus affirms two important truths: The first one is that both man and woman are equals in establishing community among themselves and thus are to be treated as equals. The second truth is that both are responsible for maintaining and preserving the union they have formed. Jesus’ ministry was a model of how human beings can begin to work out the differences in relationship. Willingness to trust, to be open, to depend on and include others, particularly children, contributes greatly to maintain a community.

 In today’s Gospel Jesus says to us, “unless you become like little children you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Normally we tend to regard childhood as something that we must put or leave completely behind as if there was nothing in it worth keeping. Here we have to distinguish between being childlike and childish. Being childish refers to immaturity, being silly and being irresponsible. Being childlike implies characteristics such as openness, receptivity, curiosity, sense of wonder and the ability to live in the present. There is a wealth of sympathy, kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The role of a parent and a teacher is to try their best to unlock that treasure. Unfortunately, what tends to happen is that we lose some of the best qualities of a child and keep some of the worst. And so, we cease to be childlike but continue to be childish. Children teach us how to live, because they have not yet become prisoners of routine, habit and prejudice. They are always just themselves. This is what makes children so charming and unique. Infants who have not learned to repress their feelings are delightfully honest. Through this gospel reading, Jesus is recalling us to our lost childhood so that, though old and frail in body, we might be reborn in innocence of character. We are invited not to become children, but to become like children.

 Responding to our vocation can trigger our childishness, fears, worries and opposition.  But surrendering to our vocation turns us to trust in the God who calls, sustains, and guides us to fulfill our calling and build up the community to which we belong.  

 Fr. Susai Jesu, OMI

Soosaijesu@gmail.com

587-335-2015





ONE WHO HAS LOVED HIM TOO LATE

 This weekend’s Gospel reading brings us rather terrifying images of a great millstone hung around the neck, cutting off hands and feet, torn out eyes… Jesus is a master in parable teaching; and he knows how to use shock value. Obviously, Jesus’ comments cannot be taken literally here. It’s an invitation to make a radical decision to follow Jesus in missionary discipleship through witness and action.

 There is the famous painting "The Light of the World" by William Holman Hunt, illustrating the figure of Jesus preparing to knock on an overgrown and long-unopened door. The door in the painting has no handle on the outside, and can be opened only from the inside. Jesus just stands there knocking. But he will not enter unless someone standing at the other side of the door opens it and lets him in.

 The original painting is in St. Paul's Cathedral in London. There was a story told that a number of years ago that during the restoration of the painting, a discovery was made. When the restorer took the picture out of its frame, he uncovered a message written by the artist and hidden by the molding of the frame. The artist wrote; "Forgive me, Lord Jesus, that I have kept you waiting so long." There is that longing of a heart that is just waiting!

 We can hear the same sentiments in St. Eugene’s memories of his Good Friday experience. He   recognizes the promptings of the Holy Spirit that he felt, but didn’t have the courage to commit himself to answering and following the Spirit; “How often in my past life had my wounded, tormented heart taken wings for God from whom it had turned away!” Eugene looked for happiness outside of God where all he found was “affliction and chagrin”. It was an essential element of conversion when he turned from being self-focused to God-focused. This refocusing of Eugene’s life is confirmed by his conscious decision as he followed with a strong commitment to make God the priority from that day forward; “What more glorious occupation than to act in everything and for everything only for God, to love him above all else, to love him all the more as one who has loved him too late.

 The Gospel message invites us to open the door to our hearts, to remove obstacles that prevent us from answering God’s call to fully refocus our life from ourselves unto God.

 By Jarek Pachocki OMI                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Vocation Director

 

 

 

 

A Well Discerned Live is Worth Living


And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” Luke 1:45

The discernment of God’s call in our lives may sometimes be difficult, unclear and even confusing. When Fr. Tony and I left our ministry in Labrador, and answered Bishop Crosby’s invitation to form the Oblate Community in his diocese of Hamilton, we learned that fact about discernment first hand. Bishop Crosby encouraged us to pray about it, research and visit different ministries in order to find the place where God was calling us to be. And so, we did! We visited a number of parishes, had many conversations with people involved and certainly prayed about it. But nothing seemed to feel right, until Monsignor House suggested that the Oblates belong to St. Patrick parish in the inner-city. After lots of convincing on his part, we let Fr. House show us the church that he was so certain about.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

I remember it like it was yesterday… We drove to the church and stopped at the street lights at the corner of Main St. and Victoria Ave. He pointed at the church building and proudly said, “This is St. Patrick!” It looked like a dark, unwelcoming and fenced off old building, with little life within it. Why would anybody want to take on this responsibility? So, we clearly stated to Fr. House, “Ain’t gonna happen!” and went around the block to return to the bishop’s residence. But God had a different plan… After further discernment and lots of conversations, it became clear that’s exactly where God wants us to minister. We answered the call and moved to the parish in June of 2012. It has been a blessing ever since! A well discerned life is worth living!

Today’s feast of the Assumption of Mary reminds us that she was a woman of ultimate discernment. Always listening for and answering God’s call! We can witness this in her conversation with the Archangel Gabriel during the annunciation, in her request to Jesus at the wedding in Cana, in her worries about Jesus’ ministry and people’s mixed reactions to it, and ultimately, under the cross listening to her dying son’s will, “Woman, here is your son.” (John 19:26). Mary’s whole life was a discernment of God’s call. And this confirms that a well discerned life is worth living! That’s why on November 1, 1950 Pope Pius XII could so confidently declare, “the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” (Munificentissimus Deus, 44)

It’s not always easy to discover or clearly name what direction God wants us to take; but it is certainly a journey taken in faith. God has a wonderful plan for each one of us. It might be through single life or married commitment; it might be as a religious brother, sister or priest; it might be so clearly obvious or totally surprising. Wherever it is “blessed is she [or he] who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her [or him] by the Lord.” (Luke 1:45) because a well discerned life is worth living!

By Jarek Pachocki OMI

Vocation Director

    

 




Canada’s bishops express ‘deepest sorrow’ over loss of 215 children found buried at former residential school

Posted in Archdiocesan News By Alan

Canadian Catholic News

Canada’s bishops are expressing their “deepest sorrow” and pledge to “continue walking side by side” with Indigenous people in the wake of the discovery of the bodies of 215 children buried at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.

Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller :

“The pain that such news causes reminds us of our ongoing need to bring light to every tragic situation that occurred in residential schools run by the Church.”

“The passage of time does not erase the suffering that touches the Indigenous communities affected, and we pledge to do whatever we can to heal that suffering.”

The Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation reported the “unthinkable loss” on May 27 that was “never documented” at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. The school, funded by the federal government, was run by the Catholic Church from 1890 until 1969 before being shut down in 1978.

“The news of the recent discovery is shocking,” the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement signed by it president, Archbishop Richard Gagnon of Winnipeg. “It rekindles trauma in numerous communities across this land. Honouring the dignity of the lost little ones remains that the truth be brought to light.”

News of the discovery prompted an outpouring of grief and shock across the country. Flags on all federal buildings, as well many municipal buildings, were lowered to half-mast in honour of the victims and vigils were held in several cities. In Vancouver, 215 pairs of children’s shoes were placed on the stops in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery as a memorial.

“As we see ever more clearly the pain and suffering of the past, the Bishops of Canada pledge to continue walking side by side with Indigenous peoples in the present, seeking greater healing and reconciliation for the future,” said Gagnon.

“We had a knowing in our community,” Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation chief Rosanne Casimir said of the discovery, which was verified with ground-penetrating radar. In a statement, Casimir said some of the children were as young as three years old.

“I am filled with deep sadness at the troubling news about the 215 children found buried at the Kamloops Indian Residential School,” Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller said in the hours following news of the discovery.

“The pain that such news causes reminds us of our ongoing need to bring light to every tragic situation that occurred in residential schools run by the Church. The passage of time does not erase the suffering that touches the Indigenous communities affected, and we pledge to do whatever we can to heal that suffering.”

Kamloops Bishop Joseph Nguyen also expressed his sadness, saying “I humbly join so many who are heartbroken and horrified” by the news.

“On behalf of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kamloops, I express my deepest sympathy to Chief Rosanne Casimir of the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc Nation and to all who are mourning this tragedy and an unspeakable loss. No words of sorrow could adequately describe this horrific discovery,” he said.

Deacon Rennie Nahanee, former co-ordinator of the archdiocese’s First Nations Ministry Office and a member of the Squamish First Nation, took part in national Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings in Vancouver in 2011 and heard “sad stories” of how the remains of children were sent home from residential schools.

“I presumed then that the remains were returned home,” he said.

Several questions need to be answered, he said, such as whether families were contacted upon the death of students, determining the Department of Indian Affairs policy regarding deaths at the schools, and whether family names were recorded so remains can now be returned to their communities.



The Kamloops Indian Residential School was the largest in the Indian Affairs residential school system, with enrolment reaching a high of 500 students in the early 1950s.

There were 51 documented deaths at the school between 1914 and 1963.

The school was one of five residential schools run by religious orders in the historical geographic boundaries of the Archdiocese of Vancouver. In 1945, with the establishment of the present-day Diocese of Kamloops, the school fell under the boundaries of the new diocese.

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, who had teachers and administrators at the school, issued a statement May 30 expressing "heartfelt sadness and sincere regret for the deep pain and distress" that the discovery of the bodies brought to Indigenous communities. "The heart-breaking discovery brings the tragedy of the residential school system into the light once again and demands that we continue to confront its legacy," said Fr. Ken Thorson, provincial of OMI Lacombe Canada.



The administration building of the former Kamloops residential school in 1970.
Photo: Department of Citizenship and Immigration -
Information Division / Library and Archives Canada

 

The Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc Nation said next steps include working with a coroner, reaching out to communities whose children may have attended the school, protecting the locations of the remains, and seeking records of the deaths.

The tragedy of missing children, unmarked graves, and residential school cemeteries was documented by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2013. Its final report, Honouring the Truth, included several calls to action, including the updating of records on the deaths of Aboriginal children, completion of a national student death register, and creation of an online registry of residential school cemeteries with maps showing the location of deceased residential school children.

"The mistreatment of Indigenous children is a tragic and shameful part of Canada's history," said a statement from Carolyn Bennett, minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and Marc Miller, minister of Indigenous Services. It added that the discovery of the bodies "is once again a reminder of the harms families and survivors have suffered and continue to suffer."




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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