March 3, 2015

Sent to the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Shrine in Québec

In May 2008 my life changed. At the time, I was a new seminarian who was about to begin theology studies at the seminary in Toronto the following September. I was sent to the Shrine of Saint Anne de Beaupré for the summer to join the Youth Pastoral Team. The goal that summer was to get some experience in ministry by helping with the busy summer pilgrimage season at the shrine and hopefully improve my spoken French at the same time. Not knowing much about Saint Anne, the Shine, or ever having visited Quebec City, I trusted that the Good Lord would take care of me and guide my steps.

Each day members of the youth team would join me to lead: the Stations of the Cross on the hillside, the Rosary in the basilica, the Holy Hour with Eucharistic Adoration, and serve at a couple of the Masses celebrated throughout the day. Each evening of the summer ended with the candlelight procession and prayers to Saint Anne. I began to learn much more about who Saint Anne was and the history of the devotion to her by volunteering at the museum next door giving guided tours.

Living in the monastery with the Redemptorist priests and brothers was a great experience. Everywhere I turned a smiling face would welcome me and share a story with this zealous young seminarian from Ottawa. The many lay people who work and volunteer at the shrine embraced me like I was family and one of their own almost immediately. The warmth of the community was enriched by the tremendous holiness I felt from the shrine. There was something very special about this place. The peace I felt in prayer here was like no other I had experienced. From that moment, I knew that Saint Anne wanted me to be a part of her work of leading souls to her grandson Jesus. Since that summer, I return each year for the 9-day Novena in July out of thanksgiving to my Grandma Saint Anne. Come join us this year!

These articles were published in the Annals of Saint Anne Magazine. They are from the column written by Father Matthew while he was a seminarian studying at Saint Augustine’s Seminary in Toronto. The articles describe some of his journey to become a Catholic Priest.

March 1, 2015

The Glory Be

Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now,
and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen.

The “Glory Be” is known as a doxology, or phrase used to end prayers or hymns - in this case it is used to express our worship to God. This doxology describes how God has revealed himself to us as three persons, yet one God: Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit. We give equal worship and praise to the three persons that make up the Holy Trinity.

In this prayer we also acknowledge that God is eternal: present in the beginning of time, present now, and always present for eternity. One of the last verses in the Bible, from the book of Revelation, supports this belief that God is “the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 22:13)




What Does God Want?

A practical guide to making decisions
Author - Michael Scanlan (with James Manney)

This little book is such an easy and quick read. It has so many good tips to help with making decisions in our life. Scanlan says that we make about 200 decisions a day; some are small, while others are big and life-changing decisions.

His book gives you some strategies on what to look for when comparing options, and how to know that you've made the right decision after the fact. Scanlan offers a 5-part process for decision-making in any situation. This process was developed over his 30+ years of spiritual direction, counseling, and teaching. It is clear to see how his approach is grounded in the Catholic tradition. I’m sure that this book will help you in your everyday decisions, as well as with your big life-changing decisions.

Book Reviews

Saint Patrick

Feast Day - March 17th

Saint Patrick has to be one of the most famous saints in the secular world. It seems like on March 17th “everyone is Irish” and the green beer flows in abundance. But why is Saint Patrick associated with the Irish? Was he an Irishman? No. In fact he was born in England.

In his early 20s Patrick had a spiritual conversion, and in a dream it seemed as though all the children of Ireland were stretching out their hands to him. He understood the vision to be a call to do mission work in pagan Ireland which was dominated by the druids at this time. After years of study, Patrick was ordained a priest, and then later a bishop while he worked tirelessly to bring the faith to the Irish.

In a relatively short time the island had deeply experienced the Christian spirit, and was prepared to send out missionaries whose efforts were greatly responsible for Christianizing Europe.

What’s so special about the shamrock? Saint Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity (God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit). The 3-leaf clover has been associated with him and the Irish ever since.

So next time you order some green beer, and claim to be Irish (each March 17th), remember that Saint Patrick played a great role in bringing Christianity to Ireland, which spread to Europe, and eventually here to us in North America. We have a lot to thank Saint Patrick for - most notably our faith.