Vaclav Havel awakened hope in a wearied nation…

The death of Vaclav Havel, the political dissident turned national leader and international hero has touched the world.  Havel died Sunday December 18 at his weekend home in the northern Czech Republic. The 75-year-old former chain-smoker had a history of chronic respiratory problems dating back to his time in prison.

He was born October 5, 1936, in Prague, the child of a wealthy family that lost extensive property to communist nationalization in 1948. Havel was denied a formal education, eventually earning a degree at night school and starting out in theater as a stagehand.  His political activism began in January 1977, when he co-authored the human rights manifesto Charter 77, and the cause drew widening attention in the West.
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May the angels lead you into Paradise…

Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., blessing the body of Cardinal John Foley in the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, prior to the funeral mass.

Text of the homily of Archbishop Timothy Dolan,
Archbishop of New York and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Funeral of His Eminence John Cardinal Foley
Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul
Philadelphia, December 16, 2011

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us!”
It is the celebration of that mystery of the Incarnation that we await this Advent season, as we long to hear those inspired poetic lines from the Prologue of the Gospel of John the Evangelist on Christmas morning.

It is the mystery of the ongoing Incarnation, especially manifest in the life and ministry of John Patrick Foley, that unites us in grateful, reverent, supplicant prayer this Advent afternoon.
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Funeral Mass of Cardinal John Foley – Live on Salt + Light

On Friday, Dec. 16th, Cardinal John Patrick Foley will be laid to rest in his native Philadelphia. Salt + Light will bring you live coverage of the funeral service from Philadelphia’s Cathedral, the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.

Our coverage of the Funeral Mass begins at 2:00pm ET.

Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, Archbishop of Baltimore and Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem will be the main celebrant. Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who is Archbishop of New York and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, will give the homily. Following the Mass, Cardinal Foley’s body will be entombed in the crypt of the Cathedral Basilica.

Cardinal Foley was known as the “voice of  Christmas Eve Mass”, providing live commentary for American broadcasts of midnight Mass from the Vatican. He led the Pontifical Council for Social Communication for over 23 years, helping draft documents about ethics in advertising, social media, and the internet. Cardinal Foley was a great friend of Salt + Light and will be deeply missed. He passed away on Sunday, December 11th at the age of 76 after a long battle with leukemia.

Perspectives Daily – Tuesday, Dec. 13

Tonight on Perspectives: We bring you details surrounding Cardinal John Foley’s funeral, Pope Benedict receives a special invitation to visit Switzerland and Catholics in Saskatoon have a reason to rejoice.

The reluctant Cardinal who put Jesus first

He was an apostle who lived by his simple motto: Jesus is Lord. This is how the Archbishop of Toronto described his predecessor, the late Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, in his homily on Wednesday morning. Archbishop Thomas Collins presided over the Cardinal’s funeral in St. Michael’s Cathedral.

The Cathedral was overflowing with 1000 mourners. Representatives of all levels of government attended, including the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario and the federal finance minister. Toronto mayor Rob Ford issued a statement describing the Cardinal as “a caring, compassionate resident of our city.” He noted his role in hosting World Youth Day in 2002, which “stands out as a cultural milestone in our city’s history.” Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty added that the Cardinal lived “with devotion, conviction, and to the fullest.”

Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte of Montreal was among the over 30 Canadian bishops who paid their respects. The president of the Slovenian bishops’ conference was also present, owing to Cardinal Ambrozic’s place of birth. After the funeral, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa remarked that the Cardinal was particularly reflective of the city he shepherded, due to his immigrant roots.
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Homily for the funeral of Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic

This morning, the Archbishop of Toronto presided at the funeral of his predecessor, Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic. Archbishop Thomas Collins delivered the following homily to the congregation of over 1000 faithful who attended.

[singlepic id=168 w=400 h=300 float=right]As we gather to mourn Cardinal Ambrozic, and to celebrate this Funeral Mass for the repose of his soul, our consciousness of the Providence of God, and our faith in the Risen Lord, brings us consolation and hope in this time of sorrow.

Death reminds us all of the fragility of earthly life, and of our need to place our hope in the Lord alone, he who guides us on our pilgrimage through this vale of tears to the house of the heavenly Father. When we come together in the solemn rites of mourning of the Church, of our family of faith, we are ourselves strengthened through the Word of God, and through the Eucharist, and through our renewed awareness that when the time comes for each of us to die, we too will come before the Lord supported by the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
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S+L broadcasts funeral Mass for Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic

[singlepic id=163 w=400 h=280 float=right]TORONTO, August 30, 2011 – Salt + Light will broadcast the funeral Mass of Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, retired Archbishop of Toronto, on Wednesday, August 31 at 10:30 live from St. Michael’s Cathedral in downtown Toronto. The live coverage begins at 10:15am with repeats at 8:00pm and midnight (all times Eastern).

The broadcast is also available through Salt + Light’s live web stream at www.saltandlighttv.org/live.

More than 1000 people are expected to attend the funeral, including 500 priests and numerous family and friends. Due to a large expected attendance, as well as renovations currently underway at the Cathedral, the Archdiocese of Toronto recommends that persons wishing to participate in the funeral Mass do so via television or internet.

Information on the coverage is available at www.saltandlighttv.org/ambrozic.

Tribute to Tommy Longo at his Funeral Mass

Salt + Light CEO Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, spoke these words after communion at the funeral Mass for Mr. Tommy Longo on February 2, 2011 in St. Clare of Assisi Church in Woodbridge, Ontario:

Tribute to Tommy Longo at his Funeral Mass
February 2, 2011
St. Clare of Assisi Church, Woodbridge

Dear Zina,
Dear Members of the Longo Family,
Carissimi Amici tutti,

It is a privilege for me to offer these few words of gratitude and tribute to Tommy Longo for all he and his family have done for me, personally, and for us at the Salt + Light Catholic Media Foundation, Canada’s first national Catholic television network.  I speak to you on behalf of our staff and the hundreds of thousands of viewers across Canada who are beneficiaries of the Longo Foundation’s generosity and Tommy’s belief in us.

Today’s funeral Mass is taking place on February 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple of Jerusalem.  It is a great feast in the Church, bringing together the East and the West, and it is the formal culmination of the Christmas season.  Forty days after the birth of Jesus at Christmas, his parents, Mary and Joseph, a poor, humble couple bring their child to Jerusalem’s temple to fulfill  the Jewish Law.  Because they are poor, they do not offer the customary gift of a lamb, but rather bring two turtle doves as their offering to the Temple.  On the outside, the scene is very normal and without fanfare – it was the story of another poor, simple, humble, faithful Jewish family doing their duty.  But we know that there was something much more happening than met the eye.  It was a Presentation but it was something much greater.  It was the Lord Jesus entering his Temple, foreshadowing what was to come.  It was Mary and Joseph, poor humble parents who were bringing the Messiah and Lord into the centre of Jewish life.  What appeared to be an ordinary moment in the life of this family was something extraordinary.

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Today our hearts are bursting, such is the gift of love

“Today our hearts are bursting, such is the gift of love.”

Those are the words Jim and Carol Collier used to express their emotions at their son’s funeral. Sapper Brian Collier was killed last week in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device. His funeral was held yesterday at Holy Martyrs of Japan parish in Bradford, Ontario, the Collier’s hometown.

Photo credit: Jay Gutteridge / Barrie AdvanceMembers of the 1 Combat Engineer Regiment based in Edmonton, Alberta carried Collier’s casket into the church, while members of the 2 Combat Engineer Regiment from CFB Petawawa stood guard outside. More than one soldier was visibly shaking from the effort of trying to contain his emotions whiling standing at attention.

In his homily, Fr. Boniface Perri, the pastor of Holy Martyrs of Japan Parish, said, “If the value of a man is how many people will remember him well, and how many people he touched and loved, and how many people loved him back, then look around…Brian was sucessful in every sense of the word.”

He told the gathered mourners that a funeral is not a ceremony where the surviving relatives and friends simply promise to remember the deceased and keep his or her memory alive. Instead, a funeral is a recognition that, for the faithful, death is not an end, but a change in life.

“Thus whenever our thoughts and prayers go to him, we will be with Brian. No, he is not gone but moved far away.”

“This moment is heartbreaking, but it would be sadder still if we remained in it,” Fr. Perri said.

“God beckons to us, too,” he added. “Beckons us to realize that He is not simply the refuge of those who have fallen. He is also the sure hope of those who are alive.”