February 29, 2012 by Leave a Comment
Tonight on Perspectives: Cardinal Collins gives thanks with his flock in Toronto, an inter-religious conference in Rome looks at the aftermath of Arab Spring, and Msgr. Georg Ratzinger shares family childhood memories.
February 29, 2012 by Leave a Comment
As Mass began in Toronto’s Cathedral this morning, more than a few familiar faces lined the pews. The mayors of Toronto and its neighbouring municipalities were in attendance, seated alongside an MPP from the Ontario government, the provincial leader of the opposition, and the Lieutenant Governor. They came to welcome back one of their own. It was just over one week ago that the Archbishop of Toronto was made a cardinal at a Vatican ceremony. Now back in Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving in St. Michael’s Cathedral. During his homily, he spoke about what the Old Testament prophet Jonah can teach us about the new evangelization. S+L will re-air the Pontifical Mass tonight at 8pm ET / 5pm PT, repeating once more at midnight ET / 9pm PT. The broadcast begins with our half-hour Perspectives special recapping the consistory, which is streaming online above. If you would like to congratulate the Cardinal in person, the public is invited to attend a series of local celebrations being held throughout the archdiocese.
Tonight on Perspectives: Pope Benedict’s schedule for his trip to Milan is released. We preview tomorrow's Mass of Thanksgiving with Thomas Cardinal Collins and we take a look at upcoming events across the country.
Tune in to Salt + Light as Canada welcomes home its newest Cardinal, His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, with a special Mass of Thanksgiving on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 10:30am ET / 7:30am PT LIVE from St. Michael's Cathedral. In addition to the expected 1,000 well-wishers, dignitaries and friends that are expected to attend, S+L's CEO Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB will be on location to offer live commentary and reflections on the Mass to our TV and online viewers. Prior to the event, starting at 9:50am ET / 6:50am PT, S+L will air a special episode of Perspectives Weekly, hosted by Alicia Ambrosio, that will cover the highlights of the 2012 Consistory in Rome as well as the events leading up to Cardinal Collins' elevation to the College of Cardinals by Pope Benedict XVI.
February 28, 2012 by 3 Comments
Second Sunday of Lent - March 4, 2012 The readings for this Sunday are: Genesis 22:1-2, 9-13, 15-18; Romans 8:31b-35, 37; Mark 9:2-10 Moriah. Sinai. Nebo. Carmel. Horeb. Gilboa. Gerizim. Mount of Beatitudes. Tabor. Hermon. Zion. Mount of Olives. Calvary. Golgotha. Mountains are often used in the Bible as the stages of important encounters between God and his people. Though we may have never visited the lands of the Bible, we are all familiar with these biblical mountains and the great events of our salvation history that took place there. Today’s Old Testament and Gospel reading take place on two important biblical mountains – Mount Moriah and Mount Tabor. Both readings give us profound insights into our God and his Son, Jesus, who is our Saviour. First let us consider the story of the sacrifice of Isaac by his father Abraham as portrayed in Genesis 22:1-19. The story is called the Akedah in Hebrew (Anglicization of the Aramaic word for “binding”) and it easily provokes scandal for the modern mind: What sort of God is this who can command a father to kill his own son? How many pagan voices were assailing Abraham at this moment? What would a contemporary father do if he were to be called on to sacrifice his only son to God? He would be thought mad if he even considered it – and unfaithful to God as well. What a poignant story indeed! “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love ... and offer him there as a burnt offering. ... So Abraham rose early in the morning.” Because Abraham listened to the Lord’s messenger, his only son’s life was spared. The binding of Isaac, then, is a symbol of life, not death, for Abraham is forbidden to sacrifice his son. What happens on Mount Moriah finds an echo in what happens atop Mount Tabor and Mount Calvary in the New Testament: The mounts Moriah, Tabor and Calvary are significant places of vision in the Bible. For on these peaks, we see a God who never abandons us in our deepest despair, terror and death. God is with us through thick and thin, through day and night. These mountains teach us that it is only when we are willing to let go of what we love most and cherish most in this life, to offer it back to God, the giver of all good gifts, that we can ever hope to receive it back in ways we never dreamed of or imagined. Only then will we experience resurrection, healing, consoling light and new life. We can only speculate on what lies behind the story of the Transfiguration – one of the Gospel’s most mysterious and awesome visions (Mark 9:2-10; Matthew 17:1-9; Luke 9:28- 36). Peter, James and John had an overwhelming experience with the Lord on Mount Tabor. Following the night of temptation and preceding the blackness of Golgotha, the glorious rays of the Transfiguration burst forth. Before their eyes, the Jesus they had known and with whom they walked became transfigured. His countenance was radiant; his garments streaming with white light. At his side, enveloped in glory, stood Moses, the mighty liberator, who had led Israel out of slavery, and Elijah, the greatest of Israel’s prophets. Jesus needed the light and affirmation of the mountaintop experience in his own life. In the midst of his passion predictions, he needed Mount Tabor, to strengthen him as he descended into the Jordan Valley and made his way up to Jerusalem. For every disciple since, it is the same. Those who follow Jesus must ascend the mountain to catch a glimpse of the mystery of God’s presence in our world and in our lives. And yet Mark’s story of Jesus transfigured reminds us that gazing in contemplation is not enough. The disciples are told to listen to Jesus, the Beloved of God, and then return to their daily routine down in the valley. The awesome Gospel story of the Transfiguration gives us an opportunity to look at some of our own mountaintop experiences. How have such experiences shed light on the shadows and darkness of life? What would our lives be without some of these peak experiences? How often do we turn to those few but significant experiences for strength, courage and perspective? How has the mountaintop experience enabled us to listen more attentively to God’s voice – a voice calling us to fidelity and authenticity in our belief? When we’re down in the valley we often can’t see Christ’s glory. The most consoling message of the Transfiguration is perhaps for those who suffer, and those who witness the deformation of their own bodies and the bodies of their loved ones. Even Jesus will be disfigured in the passion, but will rise with a glorious body with which he will live for eternity and, faith tells us, with which he will meet us after death. So many voices assail us that we find it difficult to listen to God’s voice. Before light envelops us, we need to go through darkness. Before the heavens open up, we need to go through the mud and dirt. We must experience both mountains – Tabor and Golgotha – in order to see the glory of God. The Transfiguration teaches us that God’s brilliant life included death, and there is no way around it – only through it. It also reminds us that the terrifying darkness can be radiant and dazzling. During moments of transfiguration, God penetrates the hardened, incredulous, even disquieting regions within us, about which we really do not know what to do, and he leaves upon them the imprint of his own face, in all its radiant and dazzling glory and beauty. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB CEO, Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation This reflection first appeared on the Zenit International News Service in 2008 as well as on the Salt + Light Blog. The complete collection of reflections for Year B is now available in book form. You can order your copy of “Words Made Flesh: Volume 2, Year B” from the website of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops Publications Service, or from the Salt + Light online store.
When I was twelve years old a doctor in my parish, who was a fairly active parishioner, announced that he was going to Mexico for a year to further his studies. I didn't think much about it. The year went by and one day I noticed that he had returned. But what I really noticed was that he is putting on vestments for Mass. But he was married! He then proceeded to assist the priest during the Mass. I didn’t really know he was assisting, it sure looked like he was concelebrating, especially when he read the Gospel and he preached the homily. I was confused. Then I found out that he had been ordained a permanent deacon and that deacons could be married men. Ever since that day, the permanent diaconate has been in my heart.
Fast-forward to about six years ago. I’m in my parish, St. Elizabeth Seton in Newmarket and there are two new permanent deacons. They are married men. And all the feelings that I had when I was twelve came back. The next week I was speaking with Fr. Liborio Amaral, who was the Archdiocesan Vocations Director and he introduced me to Deacon Bert Cambre, who at the time, was the Director of Deacons for the Archdiocese of Toronto. Next thing I know, Salt + Light is producing the promotional video for the Permanent Diaconate for the Archdiocese of Toronto - but also, two years later, I found myself in the Permanent Diaconate formation program for the Archdiocese. I truly believe that the permanent diaconate is the Church’s best kept secret. Most people have never heard of it. And there are many men out there (you could be one of them) who would make great deacons. Not only does the deacon get to assist with the liturgy and sometimes proclaim the Gospel and preach, but they get to minister to the most needy in the community. Deacons are occasionally found ministering in hospitals, senior homes and prisons. But they are not just chaplains, counselors or pastoral care workers – they are ordained ministers of the Church. That means they’ve received the Sacrament of the Holy Orders. Perhaps you know someone who is a good deacon candidate? Many parishes now are in the midst of a “Called by Name” program, in which we are invited to submit the name of someone whom we think would be a good priest, brother, sister or deacon. These names are given to your pastor and then he approaches these people to talk about a possible religious vocation. While it may seem unwelcome (I don’t want anyone submitting my name to no pastor!), you can always say you’re not interested. But from what I hear, most people whose names are submitted have already considered the call, but for many reasons been hesitating. So this is a good and gentle kick in the pants. Plus, don’t underestimate the Holy Spirit. If you are being called and not paying attention, this is a good way to get your attention. Perhaps you are one of these men who have been thinking about the Diaconate but have been hesitating. Just contact your diocesan office and find out. The worst thing that could happen is that it turns out that it's not for you. Then again, it may be exactly where God is calling you. It was where God was calling me. Fast-forward again to today. I am now in fourth year formation and getting ready for my ordination on May 26th. I can't say that I feel ready to be ordained, but I am most certain that this is where God has called me and where I need to be. Isn't that what everyone always says after discovering a religious vocation? If you would like to know more about the Permanent Diaconate, I hope that you are able to watch Catholic Focus: A Ministry of Service, tonight at 7 and 11pm ET (8pm PT). You will meet great men who have said yes to the call to serve. Maybe one day you'll be writing me to tell me about your vocation story and inviting me to your ordination. - Credit: CNS photo