Archdiocese of St. John's

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Message 2014

Dear faithful friends,

There’s a song that we hear a lot at this time of year. The title is “We Need a Little Christmas.” This might reflect the way that many of us are feeling right now. Over the past year, our world has experienced a series of disasters. Some are weather-related. Some are humanitarian crises, such as the civil war in Syria, the tension in Ukraine, the terrorism in Nigeria, and the violence in Iraq. It is especially distressing when we hear of violence and terrorism close to home, as has happened several times over the past year. Hearing the stories, it is almost impossible not to be disheartened. This is why we do, indeed, “need a little Christmas.”

Christmas invites us to go to the stable. It invites to contemplate simple realities—simple and yet very profound. In coming among us as a baby in Bethlehem, our God tells us that we are loved. In Jesus, the Word became flesh, like us, and wished to dwell amongst us. Why? Because of love! Because of this, we can bring to the stable our own hearts, hearts that are often bleeding out of pain and disillusionment, and the hearts of victims whose lives were traumatised.

We can see how much of the human condition was embraced by the love of God when Christ was born amongst us. Mary and Joseph knew the need to protect themselves against vicious tongues, for Mary was pregnant, but not married. They knew anxiety, for they found themselves unprepared and without resources at the time of the birth of their child. They were, in fact, homeless when a home is needed, when a child is about to be brought into the world. Fear and oppression made them refugees shortly afterwards, and they were unable to return to their homeland for many years. Today, in a time of seeming prosperity, there are many—in fact, a growing number-- in Newfoundland who can identify with these aspects of the lives of the Holy Family.

Mary and Joseph also knew that most wondrous of human experiences, the joy and love that overwhelms us at the birth of a baby. Love transforms all, and the pride and joy of new parents is something that delights the hearts of all who know them. Mary and Joseph knew hope and wonder as they gazed on their baby. Who has not marvelled as we count the toes? The arrival of the shepherds reminds us of the vital importance of neighbours and friends, with their support and encouragement. The arrival of the Magi is a reminder to all of us to share our gifts in service of others. Love transforms all.

So, we can easily see that many aspects of our humanity are embraced by the Holy Family. In Bethlehem, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Today, wherever we live and love, the Word continues to take flesh and dwell among humanity. Jesus comes among us as the poor, the refugee, the stranger, the abused person, the prisoner, and the sick. And Jesus also takes the form of the neighbour bringing muffins, the pastoral care volunteer praying with a patient, the donor whose gift allows a prisoner to read a book for his child on CD, the respite worker who gives time and self to afford a family relief and space to rebuild strength.

We need a little Christmas. This Christmas, let’s give the gift of self to others. In so doing, we may discover how Christ continues to take flesh in our midst.

In Christ, the God who dwells among us,

Most Reverend Martin W. Currie
Archbishop of St. John’s

Christmas Masses at Senior's Home and HMP


Over the past several weeks I have had the privilege to preside at Masses at the various senior's homes and long-term care facilities in the city of St. John's. As well, I had the opportunity to visit Her Majesty's Penitentiary to gather and celebrate with the residents and staff there. I always treasure the times to visit these facilities. Please know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers this Christmas and I wish you continued health, happiness, peace and joy during the Christmas season and in 2015. May the peace of Christ reign in your heart this Christmas and may your New Year know the blessings of the Lord.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Mass at St. Patrick's Mercy Home 


In recognition of the Sisters of Mercy being involved in pastoral care of seniors, I will be celebrating Mass for residents and staff at St. Patrick's Mercy Home on Monday, October 27 at 11:00 am. 
St. Patrick’s Mercy Home has a long history of quality care and compassion.The home is committed to caring for the whole person, respecting the sacredness of life and the dignity of each individual. Mercy is a way of life at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home, which is intrinsic to its operation and enacted by staff and volunteers.


National Liturgy Conference

The National Liturgy Conference will be taking place in St. John's, NL on October 27 - 28 at the Hampton Inn, St. John's, NL. The theme for this year's conference is "Weddings and Funerals as Moments of Evangelization" with Bishop Brian Dunn and Anne Walsh, Director of Adult Faith Formation for the Archdiocese of St. John's presenting. 
I will celebrate Mass at 6:00 pm at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist for all those attending the conference. A dinner will follow at the K of C building on St. Clare Avenue. Blessings to all who will attend this annual conference that it will be a time of faith sharing and faith formation for you.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

50th Anniversary of the First Mass celebrated in the current St. Teresa's Church



On Sunday, October 26 at 11:30 am I will be celebrating Mass in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the First Mass celebrated in the current St. Teresa's Church, Mundy Pond Road. I will be joined by Frs. Leo, Tony and Roy and the faithful parishioners and friends of St. Teresa's. I offer heartfelt congratulations to St. Teresa's Parish and thank them for sharing the Redemptorist presence here in St. John's with us. Blessings to St. Teresa's on your 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Daily Mass-Vision TV

On Tuesday, October 21, 2014 I will be the celebrant at the 9:30 am and 1:30 pm VisionTV Daily Mass. I know many of the sick and shut-in look forward to the daily Mass on VisionTV and it was a great honour for me to celebrate these Masses to be aired on October 21.  VisionTV is Canada’s only English language cable and satellite specialty channel that airs multi-faith, multicultural and family-oriented entertainment.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

50th Class Reunion - StFX

From October 4 - 6, I attended the 50th. class reunion of my alma mater - StFX, Antigonish, Nova Scotia. On Saturday morning I celebrated an Alumni Mass at the University Chapel on campus. This was a great opportunity for me to gather with former and current students and staff to give thanks to God for the many happy memories alumni have of their time spent at StFX and to recall Jesus, the Great Teacher, who never had a classroom or a degree but who was truly the Master Teacher and the greatest teacher of all time and from who we learn all important and true life's lessons and teachings. Throughout the weekend I attended various functions where I had the opportunity to reconnect with old classmates and friends. I also met former students whom I had not seen in fifty years. The weekend events also featured the Golden Grads dinner, Coffee with Coady and the presentation of the Katherine Fleming International Development Award, the Mount. St. Bernard College Tea, a 5K fun run, athletic events including the Homecoming football game, class dinners and get-togethers, campus walking tours, pub nights, an alumni mass, and farewell brunch. On October 3 the university's new president, Dr. Kent MacDonald will be installed as the 18th President. I wish Dr. MacDonald many blessings and success as he undertakes this new post.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

​Installation of K of C Officers

On Saturday, September 27, 2014 I presided with Fr. Pat Kennedy the 5:00 pm Mass at Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Bay Bulls where we had the installation of the K of C officers. The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic family fraternal service organization with 1.6 million members. It provides members and their families with volunteer opportunities in service to the Catholic Church, their communities, families and young people. After Mass I joined the K of C members and their guests for a meal. I thank the Bay Bulls K of C Council for the tremendous service they give to their church and community and I wish the new Executive many blessings in the coming year.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

PRO-LIFE SUNDAY

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ;
What is euthanasia? And why are people across Canada so concerned about it at this time? These are very good questions. It would be very easy for me to begin my response by telling you what our Church is opposed to. I will not do that. We do not wish to be, or to be seen as, a Church that says "no." I wish to begin with what we believe in, and what we stand for. 
We believe in God, a God who creates all things and all people, who loves us into being, and who remains with us, loving and supporting us through good times and bad, in sickness and in health, through all the days of our lives, from conception to natural death. We believe in a God who gives us people who support us through all the moments and seasons of our lives. Through our experience, we have come to know that this love of God is tangible, that we experience it through the love of others-friends, family and neighbours. In sickness, we often experience the love and healing power of God through the hands and the skills of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. Sometimes they have the power to heal. Sometimes, they have the power to make us comfortable and to help us to bear our suffering by making our physical pain minimal. 
We stand for the dignity and worth of each human being. We value, and treasure diversity. We stand in wonder at the varied talents, skills, abilities and expressions of those with and alongside whom we live. Not one of us would dare to play God or to decide which of these sisters brothers should live or die. This determination is God' s alone to make. Ours is the often wondrous and sometimes difficult task of supporting, nurturing, feeding and sustaining, celebrating, rejoicing and weeping with our sisters and brothers, serving as the hands and feet of God as together we walk this journey of life. 
Euthanasia occurs when a person, not an illness or accident, takes the life of a human being. Many of us have had the experience of loving a person, or being touched by the life of a person, whom others might see little or no value. We who have had this experience usually think differently about the value of a human life. We know that every life has dignity and value. Others, seeing the same person that we see, might say, "He or She should be taken out of their suffering." Because we so treasure God's gift of life, because we have all experienced the mystery of life, we know that this is not our decision to make. Only God can take a life. 
As soon as we enter the discussion of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, we enter a field in which one person assumes or is given the right to determine whether and when another person dies. Instead, let us each work to further a society in which all are called to live as fully as possible until natural death, and then even more fully in the nearer presence of the God who always loved them into live. 
I pledge myself to working for this noble goal. I encourage and invite you to do the same. 


Your brother in Christ,

+ Martin

Saturday, 20 September 2014

​Catholic Missions in Canada Parish Talks

On the weekend of September 20 - 21 I will be joined by other Canadian Bishops speaking at various parishes in Charlottetown, PEI about the work and ministry of Catholic Missions in Canada. Catholic Missions In Canada seeks to sustain and extend the Catholic Faith in isolated, poor and hard-to-reach mission areas in Canada. These are communities where diocesan resources are insufficient to keep the Church alive. Catholic Missions promotes national awareness on the needs of our Canadian missions and raises funds to sustain the work of evangelization. Please visit their website at http://cmic.info/.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

PILGRIMAGE ON “THE TRAIL OF THE CARIBOU”

“As your Bishop I wish to remind you that the years 2014-2018 mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War. We must never forget the tremendous contributions and horrendous sacrifices that so many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians made to that cause. Fighting in both Navy and Army uniform, in Merchant Marine and Forestry Corps, our brave forebears never hesitated to stand in harm’s way to protect our homes and values. While many of them paid the supreme sacrifice, many more came home wounded in body and/or mind. We must also never forget the suffering at home of wives and children for whom the effects of that war would be felt for the rest of their lives. Of course, we are also aware of and grateful for the pastoral guidance provided by a priest of our Archdiocese, Lt. Col. (Padre) Thomas Nangle, who served as Chaplain to the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and later as Newfoundland’s representative on the Imperial War Graves Commission as Director of War Graves Registration and Inquiry. His vision of the “Trail of the Caribou” has become a reality, and is a touchstone for many of those who wish to stand “where once they stood.”

Knowing that many of those brave volunteers were members of our Church, I am sponsoring a spiritual pilgrimage to the battlefields of Europe in the summer of 2016 and I have asked Craig Travel, a well-known travel company, to work out the details. Over the next few months you will begin to see advertisements for their special tour tentatively called, “On the Trail of the Caribou, 2016.” I personally invite you to consider this tour as we visit both the battlefields where our people fought in World War One and the cemeteries in which they are buried. In June-July 2016, there will be a group from this Archdiocese travelling to France and Belgium, and converging with many other groups at Beaumont Hamel on July 1. On that day, with Bishop Geoff Peddle of the Anglican Church I will lay a wreath in the remembrance ceremony at Beaumont Hamel. The tentative and approximate cost is $5000.00 (all-inclusive). I will provide more information as it becomes available. If you are interested in registering or receiving updates, please contact MaryLou Sweetapple at the Archdiocese of St. John’s:mlsweetapple@nf.aibn.com

+ Martin


Monday, 15 September 2014

​2014 CCCB Plenary


From September 15 - 19, I will be attending the annual Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops being held in at the Hotel Château Mont-Sainte-Anne, Beaupré, East of Quebec City and in the Archdiocese of Québec. Below you will find a synopsis of our meetings from Paul-Andre Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Please remember all bishops gathered for the Plenary Assembly this week as we dialogue, pray and reflect together on the needs of the Canadian Church.


Message from Paul-Andre Durocher, President of the CCCB


This year we are meeting in Beaupré, Québec, to be close to the September 14 celebrations by the Archdiocese of Québec of the 350th anniversary of the canonical erection of the first parish in North America outside Spanish territories. Beaupré is home to the national Shrine of Saint Anne de Beaupré, where we will gather later this week. Saint Anne's is a centre of pilgrimage for Indigenous Peoples together with all the faithful from Quebec, all of Canada and throughout North America. In honouring the grandmother of Jesus and the mother of Mary, whom tradition names Anne, we are reminded that the Gospel becomes alive when God's Word is written in human stories.

Evangelization is our special focus this year. This is our first Plenary since the proclamation by Pope Francis on April 3 that the Universal Church recognizes as Saints Bishop François de Laval and Mother Marie of the Incarnation, two of the founders of the Church in New France. We will reflect on Evangelii Gaudium ("The Joy of the Gospel"), Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation On the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today's World. We will do this with the help of a major intervention by Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, Archbishop of Havana, and by means of reflections by our Commission for Justice and Peace, and our Commission for Doctrine. The theme and demands of evangelization will also involve us in discussions on the preparations for the 2014 Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which focuses on "The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization".

On the 10th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, Blessed Paul VI summed up its objectives as a "single one: to make the Church of the 20th century ever better fitted for proclaiming the Gospel to the people of the 20th century" (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, no. 2.2). In continuing to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of the Council's documents, we might say that ours today is the responsibility and joy of making the Church better fitted for proclaiming the Gospel to the people of the 21st century. Archbishop Arthur Roche, Secretary of the Congregation for the Divine Liturgy and the Discipline of the Sacraments, will lead us in considering the enduring significance of Sacrosanctum Concilium, 50 years after the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. In line with its impressive series of resources on the Council's Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, our Commission for Christian Unity, Religious Relations with the Jews, and Interfaith Dialogue will engage us in an ecumenical presentation. Instead of the customary ecumenical greeting and message, this Plenary will feature panel presentations from five ecumenical guests on the importance of ecumenical dialogue and the experience of being in dialogue with the Catholic Church.

Two other ongoing challenges face us as Bishops in our ministry of proclaiming the Gospel. One is the protection of minors and other vulnerable persons. The second is to ensure our Conference can provide us with efficient service and support. Both these questions will be part of the agenda later this week.

In his conclusion to Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis noted the "interplay of justice and tenderness, of contemplation and concern for others", which "makes the ecclesial community look to Mary as a model of evangelization." United with the Holy Father, "We implore her maternal intercession that the Church may become a home for many peoples, a mother for all peoples, and that the way may be opened to the birth of a new world." Saints John XXIII and John Paul II, Saints François de Laval and Marie of the Incarnation, pray for us as our Assembly enters this week of encounter and reflection.

+Paul-André Durocher
Archbishop of Gatineau
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops





Friday, 12 September 2014

Filipino Variety Show


On Sunday, September 7, I had the honour to attend a Filipino Cultural Celebration and Variety Show at Holy Heart of Mary Theatre, which was organized by the Filipino Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, Inc. (FILAN). The costumes, performances and singing by local Filipinos and Canadian guest performers were absolutely phenomenal. Part of the proceeds from this event go to the various outreach ministries of the Archdiocese of St. John's. Thank you to all those who organized and participated in Sunday night's event. 





Monday, 8 September 2014


Opening School Year Mass - St. Bonaventure's

On Tuesday morning, September 2, I celebrated Mass with the students, staff and parents of St. Bonaventure's School. This is an annual tradition and one that I look forward to every year. I pray that this school year will be one of promise, hard work, and success for all students. May Jesus, the Great Teacher, fill your hearts will love and truth and may you always be aware of His presence guiding you in your friendships, decisions, and learning. Always set high goals for yourself and work hard to make them a reality!


K of C Rosary - 50th. anniversary of Mary Queen of Peace Parish.

On September 4, I joined with pastor Fr. Frank Puddister, Knights of Columbus and parishioners from Mary Queen of Peace Church in a Rosary Service to commemorate the 50th. anniversary of Mary Queen of Peace Parish. The Rosary was accompanied by Scripture readings. There was also a poetry reading about Mary as well as a light procession outside on the grounds around the statue of Mary, Queen of Peace. I preached on the role of Mary and how all the experiences, both joyful and sorrowful, that Mary experienced, are events that women and all people experience today and that we can always turn to Mary our Mother in our time of need. A social concluded this very prayerful anniversary event.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

An appeal for mercy, compassion and justice in the Middle East and throughout the world

The Executive Committee of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, meeting on August 25, 2014, in Quebec City, issues the following appeal: 
In the name of the Father of life, and of the Crucified Christ, and of the Spirit of love, we make this appeal for mercy, compassion and justice. 

We hear resounding about us still the question that God, Father of all life, posed to humanity at the beginning: “Where is your brother?” We see the homeless and the wounded of the Middle East: in Iraq, Syria and the Holy Land. We hear their cries in Ukraine and in parts of Africa. We observe the persecutions and hardships that hundreds of thousands of people today endure because of their faith and convictions – Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, members of other religions as well as ethnic minorities. The horrors of war and violence are ravaging so many innocent hearts. Families and children are left without water, food, aid and shelter. Homes and communities are being destroyed. Not only is the future at risk for the people of these regions, but international security itself is in peril. War and violence are again eroding the common bonds of humanity, fragmenting the human family. It is Jesus who is being persecuted, who is homeless, who is hungry, who is in prison, who is being tortured.
As followers of the Crucified One, we recognize particularly in the Middle East the sufferings of our own brothers and sisters in faith. Moved by their pains and afflictions, we make their cause our own. We are united with them in solidarity and faith. Our unceasing prayer and hope are rooted in the love and forgiveness by which Our Lord transforms the human heart. Our one comfort is in the concern and care that people around the world are offering. Encouraged by the calls of Pope Francis for peace and justice, we echo the statements and actions of the leaders of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches of the Middle East. We make our appeal to all people – of every faith and in the name of good will, here in Canada and around the world – to do even more to assist the suffering of those in need. 

We pray that the Holy Spirit continue to inspire Canadians, particularly the faithful of our Catholic Church, to support the work of agencies that bring solace and aid to the persecuted and the exiled. We pray too that the transforming power of the Spirit inspire political, religious and community leaders, in each of the troubled regions of our world, to speak out loudly for justice and reconciliation, to denounce atrocities, to renounce violence and oppression, to announce and demand peace. 

“Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people and to his faithful…” (Psalm 85.8) 


+ Paul-André Durocher
Archbishop of Gatineau 
President 
+ Douglas Crosby, O.M.I. 
Bishop of Hamilton Vice President 
+ Lionel Gendron, P.S.S. 
Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil Co-Treasurer 
+ Anthony Mancini 
Archbishop of Halifax-Yarmouth Co-Treasurer 
25 August 2014

Labour Day Weekend

Dear friends in Christ,

This coming weekend, we will all celebrate Labour Day. This is a holiday during which we honour and respect all those who labour, and re-commit ourselves to support and foster the dignity of all work and all workers.

The Labour Day weekend is also the “last weekend of Summer,” the last holiday before the school year begins for students in primary, elementary or high school, universities or community colleges, or trades programs. Many young people and their caregivers are looking forward to the school year, although for some this new beginning involves leave-taking and sadness.

Labour Day is a time when we contemplate fresh starts, and the wonder of a God who is a God of surprises and fresh beginnings, of new life, resurrection and reconciliation. We are made in the image and likeness of that God. We are called to be people who celebrate starting over. We rejoice in new life and new challenges and, where this is difficult or impossible, we support each other as we seek new ways and new endeavours. Jesus said, “I came that you may have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

As individuals, as families, friends and communities, let us enter into this new time of life and growth in a spirit of solidarity and mutual support. We give thanks for the breaks that summer has afforded to so many. We pray for God’s blessing on new beginnings, and we ask God’s guidance on those who are unemployed or underemployed, who struggle with school and with change. Let us support one another.

I wish you a happy Labour Day and blessings on the start of a new school year. You are all in my prayers!


Sincerely yours in Christ,


+Martin

Monday, 18 August 2014

12th Annual Rosary and Light Procession

On Thursday, August 14 I attended the Knights of Columbus 12th Annual Rosary and Light Procession at the Basilica. This year the Rosary was recited to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War. I thank the Knights for organizing the annual Rosary and Light Procession and for their tireless efforts in spreading devotion to Mary and the Rosary and this year, in particular, for remembering in a special way all those who gave their lives in the First World War.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Summer Events 2014

Holy Sepulchre Cemetery Columbarium 

The Archdiocese of St. John's has erected its first columbarium at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery on Topsail Road, St. John's. A columbarium is a place for the respectful and public storage of urns which holds a deceased's cremated remains and while new to our Archdiocese, columbaria are widely used throughout the country and worldwide. Currently, we have 78 niches available at Holy Sepulchre but this number can be increased to 300 if there is a demand for them. I had the honour to ​bless​ the Columbaria at the annual Liturgy for the deceased at Holy Sepulchre held on Tuesday, July 29. Families who wish to purchase a niche on the death of a family member are asked to make arrangements with the funeral home who will be handling your loved one's cremated remains. Thank you to all those who contributed to the planning and construction of our Columbarium. 

Blessing at Cemetery - Dunville 

On Sunday, August 3, 2014 I presided at the annual Cemetery Mass in Dunville and blessed the new altar and cross that were recently erected there. Thank you to all who were involved in this project and to all faithful parishioners in Dunville who take great pride and care of the resting places of your loved ones. 

Knights of Columbus Supreme Convention 

I will be attending ​, along with representatives Knights from NL,​ the 132nd. Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus being held in Orlando, FL from August 5 - 7 ​. ​The Knights of Columbus is committed to 'charity' and as such they are men of faith and men of action. During 2012, in addition to raising and donating more than $167.5 million to charitable needs and projects, Knights volunteered more than 70 million hours of their time to charitable causes. They undertake these acts of charity because they see those in need through the eyes of faith. Moreover, the Knights of Columbus approach these acts of charity together. Pope Benedict XVI called this the “practice of love...as a community.” I look forward to attending this annual event and praying with the Knights of Columbus during their Supreme Convention.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Steubenville Atlantic Youth Conference



I will be attending the Steubenville Atlantic Youth Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia from July 4 – 6. This year the conference is being held at Dalhousie University. Twenty-two young people from the Diocese of St. John’s will be joined by almost one thousand other young people from across Atlantic Canada for this empowering and inspiring weekend that allows teens to participate in talks, worship, and encounters with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I thank our youth who are attending the conference for their commitment to their faith and pray for all young people who are searching for meaning and direction in their life that they may come to know and love Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.


Monday, 30 June 2014

Closing of Churches

I recently presided at the official closing of two churches under the auspices of the Archdiocese of St. John’s – St. Anne’s in Peter’s River and Sacred Heart in Tors Cove. Both churches have not been used in recent times. Due to age of these buildings as well as the state of disrepair that they are in, in consultation with the local parish priests and the Pastoral Parish Councils and congregations of both communities, the decision was made to close both churches. Over the decades, many faithful parishioners of both churches have received Sacraments at these parish churches and celebrated weekly and daily Mass. For these community’s faithful and committed servants, I extend sincere thanks and gratitude. The local parishioners of these parishes have been attending nearby churches in recent times. I pray that they may find happiness, spiritual renewal, and lasting friendships in their new places of worship. Given the change in demographics as well as the physical condition and cost of upkeep of many of the churches in our diocese, we may have to look in the future, about entering into dialogue with parish priests and Pastoral Parish Councils and congregations, about other buildings in our diocese.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Candidate for Holy Orders


On Tuesday, June 24, 2014 I had the privilege to accept Nelson Boren as a Candidate for Holy Orders. Nelson is from Caibiran, Biliran, Philippines and started his studies with the Vincentians, as a Pre-College seminarian in 1993 at Vincentian Hills Seminary in Angono, Rizal. He finished his Degree in Philosophy at St. Vincent Seminary and Adamson University in 1998. Nelson continued his theological formation at St. Vincent School of Theology (SVST) in Tandang Sora, Quezon City and most recently at St. Joseph Seminary and Newman Theological College in Edmonton, Alberta. For the past year, Nelson has completed an internship at St. Peter’s Parish, Mount Pearl, NL. On Monday, June 30, 2014 at St. Peter’s Parish, Mount Pearl, Nelson will be ordained a deacon. Please keep Nelson in your prayers as he continues on his journey to ordination to the priesthood.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

​Pilgrimage to Quebec - Day 7

Today was another full day at the Shrine of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre, beginning with celebration of the Mass in the Basilica. I presided and preached, and reflected with the Assembly on the theme of "home." I have been moved by images of Ste Anne creating a home in which she and Joachim guided Mary as she grew in wisdom, age and grace, forming the woman who would, with St. Joseph, guide Jesus in his human development. This shrine is truly such a home for pilgrims, in which they can learn and discover more deeply what it means for them to grow as disciples. And Christian disciples are called to create homes for others, homes in which we can all grow in faith, hope and love.

After Mass we were given a tour of the museum. We walked through the history of the shrine of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre, as depicted in art, letters, sculpture, photos and vessels. After lunch the pastor of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre, Fr. Charles Duval, C.Ss.R., guided us on a tour of the Basilica that was, in truth, more a meditation than tour. The beautiful building became a living Catechesis, each element lending its part and teaching some profound truth of our faith, and the whole conspiring to reveal the richness and the abundant live of God. Immediately after this, our seminarian guides, Justin and Michael, guided us through an encounter with the holy ancestors and founders of religious communities in Canada. It was truly an afternoon of learning and discovery, growth and reflection.

Anne then led us in a reflection and integration of the past two days at Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre.

Many of us shared a final supper together, and then took part in the evening Rosary, Mass and Candlelight procession around the grounds of the shrine.

It was a very full day, and a very positive one. There is much to be grateful for. Our little band of pilgrims has prayed, journeyed, laughed, sung and grown together over these past seven days. We have discovered and shared hope together. The challenge now will be to share this hope with those to whom we are sent.

Tomorrow, we travel by bus to Montreal, celebrate Mass together at Notre Dame Cathedral, and board a plane for home. So many memories to reflect on. So much for which to be grateful.

Pilgrimage to Quebec - Day 6

Today we began our pilgrimage at Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre. Fr. Charles Duval, C.Ss.R., and Justin, a seminarian and summer intern, walked us through the history of the churches built at Ste-Anne-de-Brsupre, and of devotion to Ste Anne on. The banks of the St Lawrence, dating back to the late 1670"s. we truly come from a long line of faithfulness! We walked through the grounds telling and hearing the story, and we ended up at the little commemorative church on the hillside where Fe. Charles and Assunta treated us to a lovely concert.

After lunch, we took part in a very intimate and meaningful Holy Hour and Benediction right in the sanctuary of the Basilica. Then we moved out onto the hillside to walk the Way of the Cross on the life-size Stations of the Cross built into the hill. This walk with Jesus really brought home to many of us the truth that we walk with Jesus on our pilgrimage through life.

After supper, we took part in the Rosary in the Basilica. We met Fr. Mario Boies, C.Ss.R., Provincial of the Redemptorists of the Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre Province (French speaking Canada and Haiti). Some of our number served as liturgical ministers at Mass, and then we joined in a candlelight procession that drew to a close around the huge statue of Ste Anne, where Fr. Charles brought together the experience of our day of pilgrimage in a beautiful and simple manner. Through his words, we were brought to a new and deeper understanding of the meaning of pilgrimage.

This is truly holy ground. Tomorrow, we continue our walk at Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre. We feel very welcome and at home here. Devotion to Ste Anne is part of our Newfoundland Catholic Christian spirituality. So many of our ancestors and friends have walked here. So many have looked to Ste Anne for help and guidance. She is, in a very real way, grandmother and wisdom figure for us all.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

​Pilgrimage to Quebec - Day 5

Today we travelled into Quebec City, and were met first at the Chapel of the Ursulines by Sr Mary Berthe and Msgr Denis Belanger, the rector of the Basilica-Cathedrale of Notre Dame de Quebec. We prayed at the tomb of St Marie de l'Incarnation. This woman is a model of courage and faith for us; she learned the languages of several aboriginal groups, and created dictionaries and catechetical resources for them. She evangelized by proclaiming the Good News of God's love, and introduced Jesus - The love of God made flesh.

Having prayed with St Marie, Msgr Belanger and Sr Marie-Berthe, we walked the short distance to the Basilica, into the prayer garden and prepared to enter through the Holy Door. This was a moving experience, for the bronze door features a sculpture of the Risen Christ with hands outstretched to welcome you. And the cross carved into the door behind Christ allows the light to shine through. It was profoundly moving and meaningful.

Having entered through the Holy Door, we prayed at the tomb of St Francois de Laval. We moved to the St Louis Chapel for a celebration of the Mass presided by Gerald, Cardinal LaCroix, Archbishop Martin Currie and Fr Jeff Kolonel. Our singing raised the rafters of this beautiful and historic chapel. At the end of the Mass, Cardinal LaCroix presented Archbishop Currie with a framed picture of the image of the Immaculate Conception that hangs in Notre Dame Basilica. It was here, on September 21, 1796, that James Louis O Donel was ordained bishop. In this part of our pilgrimage, Bishop O Donel was made very present to us. Cardinal LaCroix and the Archivist of the Archdiocese of Quebec then showed us the original register and documents that the Archdiocese of Quebec holds related to Bishop O Donel, and gave us copies of these documents. This evidence of the historic links between our two dioceses was another moving experience for all of us, adding to our sense that we are connected to a long line of faithfulness.

After an afternoon of wandering in Vieux Quebec, we returned to our home base of Ste Anne de Beaupre. Our hearts and minds were filled with grateful memories and new awareness. We have been blessed to have walked in the footsteps of our ancestors in faith; we continue to be blessed to walk in company with modern-day faithful companions on the journey.

Tomorrow, our pilgrimage continues at the shrine of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre.

​Pilgrimage to Quebec - Day 4

Today, Sunday, June 15, we were up early and onto the bus for a fascinating and touching rendezvous with the past. At 7:00 a.m. We left Beaupre for the hour-and-a-half drive to Berthier-sur-Mer, and an hour-long ferry ride to Grosse Ile, in the middle of the St Lawrence River. Open as an immigrant reception and processing centre from 1832-1937, it welcomed over half a million immigrants over its life-span. In 1847, 5,400 Irish victims of the Great Famine died there of cholera, scarlet fever and other communicable diseases. Today, we visited the buildings where they were assessed, processed, quarantined, and treated for their illnesses, and the mass graces which received their bodies when they died. We were guided by a sensitive and knowledgeable young man, Christophe, who accompanied us on this phase of our pilgrimage.

The Irish immigration to Newfoundland was over by 1815; we knew little about the great exodus if the Irish in the years following the potato famine. Today, that reality hit home. Thousands of the names of those who died are inscribed on a memorial wall near the mass grave, and we all touched those names in awe-- we read our own names and the names of people we know and love. So many who bore our names lie buried there--,cousins, perhaps? How many more perished on the six-week journey across the Atlantic?

Our pilgrimage united our journey with theirs. We closed the day with the celebration of Mass in St. Luke's Chapel, the old, long-empty Catholic chapel on Grosse Ile. It was a simple, moving celebration of the Eucharist, a memorial of Christ's Paschal Mystery, a suffering, death and rising shared by His people in every age-- in 1847 and 2014. We come from a long line of faithfulness.

Tomorrow, we walk with other ancestors-- our own Bishop Janes Louis O Donel, Bishop and Saint Francois de Laval and Marie de l'Incarnation in Quebec City.

We remember the ancestors of 1847. Tonight they seem very close. Eternal rest grant unto then, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Pilgrimage to Quebec - Day 3

We began our day by visiting the tomb of Blessed Frederic Jansoone in Trois Rivieres. He was a key figure in our history of faith, and helped to build Cap de la Madeleine into a destination of pilgrimage. Then we headed toward Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre, stopping to walk the bridge over Montmorency Falls, which are higher than Niagara Falls, but not as wide. We arrived at Stw-Anne-de--Beaupre, and got settled in. What a beautiful place! We went to the Basilica for Rosary, Mass and the evening Candlelight Processionor flambeau. The Basilica is SO beautiful! And we will get a tour next week after we go to Grosse Ile and Quebec..
Fr. Jeff and I concelebrated with Fr. Charles Duval, rector of the Basilica, and it was a very moving experience to look out at our 40 pilgrims seated in that beautiful Basilica. Many of them mentioned to me how struck they were, even overwhelmed by this place, it's size and splendor. It was interesting that a group of Orthodox Christians joined us after Mass for the procession and devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. 
How many Newfoundlanders have walked here before us? Too many to tell.
And tomorrow we travel to Grosse Ile to discover a history of Irish immigration very different from our own!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

​Pilgrimage to Quebec - Day 2

Day 2 was rainy at Cap-de-la-Madeleine, but that didn't dampen our spirits. After breakfast, the Rector of the Shrine, Fr. Ouellette, gave us a wonderful and inspiring talk about the history of Cap-de-la-Madeleine, and then we prayed the Rosary together and visited the Basilica for the first time. Many of us went for walks around the beautiful grounds, dodging the raindrops! Some visited the Gift Shop. After lunch, we took part in a Holy Hour and celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We were led in the Stations of the Cross, held indoors because it was still raining. Supper, Mass and the beautiful candlelight procession in the Basilica rounded out the day. When we walked out of the Basilica, the rain had stopped. It was beautiful to see all those candles spreading out in the darkness as people walked away from the prayer evening.

Tomorrow, we head to Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre. We will remember this place and all who made it so memorable for us.

Pilgrimage to Quebec, Thursday, June 12 DAY ONE

Our group of 42 pilgrims left St John's early this morning and headed off by plane to Halifax and Montreal. In Montreal, we spent some time at St. Joseph's Oratory. We learned more about the life and work of one of Canada's saints-- Brother Andre, or St. Andre of Montreal, as he is now known. We visited the tomb and the heart of this simple lay brother, the porter (door-keeper) who, through his devotion to St. Joseph, brought comfort and healing to so many.

After our time on Mount Royal, we travelled by bus to Trois Rivieres, and the Shrine of Our Lady of the Cape. On the bus, we shared stories of the things that happened to us, and the things that happened to us at the Oratory. some visited the small chapel, some went to the basilica, some visited the year-round exhibit of Nativities. Anne invited us to reflect on the life of Brother Andre, and how one simple person can change lives. She asked us to give thanks for those who have been door-openers in our lives, and I thought of my parents, grandparents, teachers, priests and bishops who have mentored me, and the religious women's kingside whom I labored in Peru. Mostly, I thought of the thousands of door-openers who make life possible in so many parishes and institutions. We are blessed in them! Fr. Jeff Kolonel led us in the Rosary.

At the Cape, our guide, Juanita, met our bus when we arrived, and introduced us to this place of pilgrimage, dating back to 1714. After supper, we celebrated Mass is the Old Shrine. I think our singing surprised and delighted the music minister! A cup of tea and then bed. Tomorrow will be a full day of activities at Cap-de-la-Madeleine.

Friday, 13 June 2014

​Day One of our Pilgrimage to Quebec

We have arrived in Montreal and are on our way to St Joseph's Oratory. We had a great flight and lots of good conversation on the way. We will make our way to Cap de La Madeleine for supper, Mass and a candlelight procession.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Pilgrimage to Quebec City

On Thursday, June 12 I will be joined by Fr. Jeff Kolonel and forty-two pilgrims on a pilgrimage to Quebec to honour the 350th.anniversary of the Archdiocese of Quebec City. On September 21, 1796, James Louis O’Donel, the Vicar Apostolic for Newfoundland and St. Pierre & Miquelon, was ordained a bishop by Bishop Francoise Hubert in the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Quebec in Quebec City. In 1689, a young Recollet brother, Didace Pelletier, left his home in Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre and journeyed to far-off Placentia, Newfoundland, as a missionary. There, he labored as a carpenter, and is credited with establishing the first Youth Ministry in the New World. He lived at Placentia for three years. On this pilgrimage, we will walk in the footsteps of Didace Pelletier and Bishop O’Donel. We will also walk in the footsteps of other ancestors in faith – St. Marie de L’Incarnation, St. Francois de Laval, St. Andre of Montreal, Jeanne Mance, St. Frederic Jansoone, OFM, Marguerite Bourgeoys and others. We will walk on holy ground to places where pilgrims have walked for generations: Notre Dame Basilica at St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, The Ursuline Convent and Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Quebec in Quebec City, the Shrine of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre and the nearby school and parish of St. Joachim, and the Irish Immigrant centre at Grosse Ile in the St. Lawrence River. Our Celtic Christian ancestors believed that life is a pilgrimage, a journey home. 

They taught that Christ walks with us on pilgrimage journeys, and is present in those whom we encounter along the way. They also believed in ‘thin places’, where there is a thin veil between heaven and earth. These include islands, headlands, churches and cemeteries. On a pilgrimage, we become spiritually aware of the ebb and flow of life, of its fragility and strength, sadness and joy. And with this awareness, the pilgrim learns when to stay put and when to move on. In so doing, we discover our places of death and resurrection. Indeed the purpose of a pilgrimage is to discover “the place of our resurrection.”

CWL Convention

On June 7 I had the privilege to be the keynote speaker at the 34th annual NL Provincial CWL Convention held in Heart’s Desire. I spoke on the topic “Why the Catholic Church in Newfoundland and Labrador Needs the Catholic Women’s League?” The Church needs, and must grow to a deeper respect for women – their gifts, their perspectives, their experiences, their way of looking at the world, their insights, education and skills. Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium – The Joy of the Gospel” avows that, “The Church acknowledges the indispensable contribution which women make to society through the sensitivity, intuition, and other distinctive sets which they, more than men, tend to possess. I think, for example, of the special concern which women show to others, which finds a particular, even if not exclusive, expression in motherhood. I readily acknowledge that many women share pastoral responsibilities with priests, helping to guide people, families, and groups while offering new contributions to theological reflection. But we need to create still broader opportunities for a more inclusive female presence in the Church” (103). The Church needs the Catholic Women’s League because the CWL is an important vehicle for providing women with opportunities for involvement and meaningful action that extend far beyond the traditional roles allotted to women in the past. In and through the Catholic Women’s League of Canada, women are leaders not only in our parishes and province, but in our Canadian Church and beyond.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Retreat for Priests of the Diocese

I will be joining my parish priests from June 1 – 6 for our annual retreat. Our week together will include time for prayer, presentations by a retreat director and opportunity for personal reflection. This annual retreat allows us to step back from our daily routines and activities in our parish communities and take some quiet time to be with the Lord, to re-energize, and to recommit ourselves to proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel.

Please keep our priests and myself in your prayers as we take this time of rest, renewal and reflection.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

​Sincere Thanks - Archbishop's Dinner and Auction


Sincere thanks are extended to all who supported the annual 'Archbishop's Dinner and Auction' last night. To the organizers of the event, those who donated items for the silent and live auctions, dessert table and sponsored other events throughout the evening as well as to all those who came out to participate in the event I extend heartfelt thanks and appreciation to you for your kindness, generosity, support and charity. Your particpation in the Dinner and Auction helps the hospitalized, those in our seniors' homes, the vulnerable and those on the margins of our society be ministered to with compassion, care. and understanding in their time of need.

"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Anniversaries 

On Monday, May 12, I celebrated two important milestones in my life – the 50th anniversary of my graduation from St. FX University and my 46th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. My undergraduate studies at St. FX laid the foundation for further studies at Holy Heart Seminary in Halifax where I completed the prerequisites for my ordination to the priesthood. Today, I give thanks to God for guiding and directing my studies and for the many blessings I have been given over the past forty-six years as an ordained priest.

Mother’s Day Blessings

On Sunday, May 11, 2014 we celebrate ‘Mother’s Day’. I wish all mothers a very Happy and Blessed Mother’s Day. Mothers have the important duty to nurture, love and teach their children from infancy providing them with wisdom, faith, and guidance. I pray today as well for all mothers who are deceased. Let us recall their love, sacrifices, commitment and dedication in bringing up their children. For those who mourn the absence of their mothers today, may the many memories you have of your dear one bring you consolation and peace. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is known as the mother of all mothers. Mary was a common woman who possessed great holiness, piety and humbleness. “ Mary, mother of all mothers, pray for us.”

Mother’s Day Prayer


God our Creator, we pray:
for new mothers, coming to terms with new responsibility ;
for expectant mothers, wondering and waiting;
for those who are tired, stressed or depressed;
for those who struggle to balance the tasks of work and family;
for those who are unable to feed their children due to poverty;
for those whose children have physical, mental or emotional disabilities;
for those who have children they do not want;
for those who raise children on their own;
for those who have lost a child;
for those who care for the children of others;
for those whose children have left home;
and for those whose desire to be a mother has not been fulfilled.
Bless all mothers, that their love may be deep and tender,
and that they may lead their children to know and do what is good,
living not for themselves alone, but for God and for others.
Amen.

(From http://www.godweb.org/mothersdayprayer.htm)

St. Bonaventure’s Mother’s Day Mass

On Friday, May 9, 2014 I celebrated a Mother’s Day Mass with staff, students, mothers and friends of St. Bons at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist. This annual Mass is the school community’s way of bringing all together to pray for and honour all mothers. In my homily, I spoke to the students about the important role of mothers and the respect, love and attention they deserve. I also told s
tudents in attendance that more important than all the material gifts they can give their mothers this Mother’s Day, the best gift they can give, is to tell their mom that they love her. This brief message and all that it encompasses will bring abundant joy, hope and happiness to her.

Development and Peace Collections 

The Archdiocese of St. John’s donated to Development and Peace the following monies for 2013. Development and Peace (The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace) is the official international development organization of the Catholic Church in Canada and the Canadian member of Caritas Internationalis. These monies were raised through the generosity of parishioners in our various parishes as well as donations from the general public. I sincerely thank all those who made donations to help alleviate the plight of those who are poor and disadvantaged.
Share Lent - $51 924.09
Philippines Typhoon Relief - $176 261.99
Syria - $49, 707.97

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

EASTER MESSAGE 2014



Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ;

“We have seen the Lord!” This was the jubilant cry of the disciples of Jesus as the wonder and truth of the Resurrection dawned upon them. When Jesus died on the Cross, their hopes had died with Him. When he was buried in the tomb, their hopes and dreams were buried too.

Everything changed for the disciples when Jesus rose from the dead. They knew than that He was still with them, walking beside them. They knew that Death did not have the final say. They heard in a new way, with new meaning, Jesus’ words, “I came that you may have life, and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

The Resurrection changes everything for us, too. We are witnesses to the power of the Resurrection, which is still being poured out into our world. We have seen this power in the person and the impact of Pope Francis over the past year. We have seen his witness of joy and heard his words of acceptance, of challenge and of love, and our hearts have thrilled. Pope Francis, in his letter, The Joy of the Gospel, calls us to return to the heart of our faith; he calls us to return to Jesus and to find joy and life in his core message of love, hope and reconciliation . Pope Francis has given us the gift of many powerful images of him in prisons and hospitals, walking among the poor, carrying a humble staff of wood, always with his warm smile. By his witness, Pope Francis says to us, “You can do it, too. It really isn’t that hard. Jesus calls you, and me, to be people who open doors for others, never to close them.”

I think that Pope Francis is right. The Resurrection of Jesus means that you and I are called to open doors for others, never to shut them. There are many doors. You know better than anyone else the closed doors that you have faced in life. The Good News is that Jesus is alive. Like the early disciples, you have seen Him! He comes to you cleverly disguised as the counsellor who assists you in finding meaning, the child who offers you forgiveness, the cashier who smiles at the end of a hard day, the mother who looks up from the fog of Alzheimer’s and recognizes a beloved child, the supervisor at work who gives you a break, the person ahead of you in line-up at Tim Horton’s who pays for your cup of tea. Yes, it is true that there are many doors. And it is just as true that there are many ways open doors.

I wish you and yours a joyful Easter. Together with Jesus and with Pope Francis, let us commit ourselves to opening doors, and bringing hope and joy into all the corners and margins of our world.

In Christ,
Most Reverend Martin W. Currie

Archbishop of St. John’s

Friday, 11 April 2014

Gathering Place Collection & Holy Week Schedule

Gathering Place Collection

I am happy to report that the parishes under the auspices of the Archdiocese of St. John's have collected $40,542.95 for the Gathering Place collections that recently took place. The Gathering Place is undergoing major reconstruction and I am confident that your generosity will help support their ongoing renovations. Thank you to all contributors for your kindness and support. Please continue to pray for and support the ministry that the Gathering Place provides to its many patrons.





During Holy Week I will celebrate, as I do every year, the Holy Triduum at the Basilica Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The Cathedral, the Mother Church, holds the Bishop’s Chair and by tradition the Bishop celebrates all important liturgical events at the Mother Church.

The schedule is as follows:

Holy Thursday
Mass of the Lord's Supper - 7:30 p.m.

Holy Thursday - Adoration after Mass until Night Prayers - 11:00 p.m.

Good Friday
Good Friday Service - 3:00 p.m.
Stations of the Cross - 7:00 p.m.

Holy Saturday

Blessings of Easter Baskets and Food - 11:00 a.m.

Easter Vigil - 8:30 p.m.

As well on Easter Sunday, I will celebrate Mass at St. Patrick's Mercy Home at 11:00 a.m.

All are invited to attend your local parish for Holy Week celebrations. If you have been away from your church for a while, this would be a great week to come back. Please know that you are always welcome at your parish and you are an important member of that faith community. Remember that the church is not a 'museum for saints' but 'a hospital for sinners' and the Holy Week celebrations will help you experience the tremendous love and mercy of our Lord and God. Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead - death no longer is the end of life for us. It is the beginning of new life. We gather at the Easter Triduum to remember the saving act of Jesus and the miracle of his resurrection. Just as Jesus died and rose - death is not the end, we too will share in Jesus' resurrection!

Development and Peace strengthens its work in the Philippines


Development and Peace | Press Room

Development and Peace, with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, will step up its work to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which struck over 6 months ago, by providing an additional $2 M in humanitarian aid. This amount is allocated through the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund set up by the Canadian government and will be added to the $12 M already collected by Development and Peace.

Development and Peace will strengthen its work to help the most vulnerable of those affected by Typhoon Haiyan in Samar province by providing assistance for housing, implementing a hygiene program, and allocating financial aid and technical assistance to the most affected communities to repair and build shelters and latrines. The organization will also carry out a “cash-for-work” program aimed at clearing away remaining debris.

Development ans Peace has been on the ground since the disaster struck, working in collaboration with Caritas Philippines-NASSA, Church World Service–Asia/Pacific (CWS) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). In the cities and remote rural communities of the Visayas region, Development and Peace quickly engaged in the distribution of food, shelter, construction material, drinking water, hygiene kits and sanitation to the most vulnerable families, and organized their participation in “cash-for-work” activities. Overall, Development and Peace has helped approximately 500,000 people in the Philippines and will continue to distribute clothing, kitchen utensils and hygiene kits and provide financial aid to enable the most vulnerable families to meet their housing and day-to-day needs.

“The generosity of Canadians in the wake of the disaster is highly commendable. Thanks to their contributions, we were able to act immediately after the crisis and will have the capacity to assist the affected communities in the reconstruction efforts,” said Michael Casey, Executive Director of Development and Peace. “In its long-term plan,Development and Peace will support the rebuilding of devastated communities and the enhancement of the lives of the more marginalized sectors of the population by enabling them to be more self-reliant, climate-resilient, and less vulnerable to future disasters. We hope that at the end of this reconstruction program, communities are organized and equipped to create and carry out new initiatives crafted by the people that will help mitigate longstanding issues of poverty and vulnerability”, he added.

Given the extent of the damage, Development and Peace has set up a three-year integrated emergency, reconstruction and development program ending in December 2016. This program’s primary objective is to provide permanent and sustainable housing, restart local economies, achieve food sovereignty, strengthen local communities in the face of natural disasters, and open up democratic space so that the most vulnerable people have a voice in the reconstruction efforts of both the government and the international agencies.

Monday, 7 April 2014

CHRISM MASS

 On Thursday, April 3, 2014 I was joined by priests and parishioners from throughout the diocese for the annual Chrism Mass at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist. The Chrism Mass publicly expresses the unity of the diocese, the unity of priests with their bishop and celebrates the institution of the priesthood and priestly service. The Chrism Mass serves two functions: blessing and distribution of the holy oils to parishes as well as the renewal by priests of their priestly promises. The oils to be used for adult catechumens and for the Sick are blessed while the Chrism that will be used to anoint the newly baptized, those to be confirmed, and those to be ordained are consecrated. 

Anointing with oil has all these meanings in the sacramental life. The pre-baptismal anointing with the oil of catechumens signifies cleansing and strengthening; the anointing of the sick expresses healing and comfort. The post-baptismal anointing with sacred chrism in Confirmation and Ordination is the sign of consecration. By Confirmation Christians, that is, those who are anointed, share more completely in the mission of Jesus Christ and the fullness of the Holy Spirit with which he is filled, so that their lives may give off 'the aroma of Christ.' [2 Cor 2, 15]) Catechism of the Catholic Church Church, no. 1294)

"The holy chrism consecrated by the bishop is used to anoint the newly baptized, to seal the candidates for confirmation, and to anoint the hands of presbyters [priests] and the heads of bishops at their ordination, as well as in the rites of anointing pertaining to the dedication of churches and altars. The oil of the catechumens is used in the preparation of the catechumens for their baptism. The oil of the sick is used to bring comfort and support to the sick in their infirmity." (Ceremonial of Bishops, 274)

After the blessing and consecration of the oil, the Basilica Team took the oils to a back room where they poured the oils into special containers and packaged them for distribution to the parishes at the conclusion of the Mass. A reception was held at St. Bonaventure’s school gym concluded the evening. Thank you to all who travelled far and wide to attend the annual Chrism Mass. 



Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Sealing Disasters of 1914


On, March 31, 2014 I attended a memorial service at George Street United Church to remember and pray with all those in attendance for 254 brave Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who perished in two separate sealing disasters a century ago.  Local musicians, government representatives, members of various faith traditions and the local community came out to remember the legacy, courage and indominable spirit of the
sealers aboard the SS Newfoundland and the SS Southern Cross
who lost their lives at sea in 1914. 
Our province's people continue to be a society that makes its living from the sea - let us continue to pray for sealers and all those who work the waters that they may do so in safe and secure conditions. 



Friday, 28 March 2014

24 Hours for the Lord

In conjunction with the ‘24 Hours for the Lord’, a new initiative of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evengelization, Pope Francis has asked that for the fourth Sunday of Lent, one church in each diocese remain open for 24 hours to offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation to those who wish to celebrate it, in the context of Eucharistic Adoration. Here, in the Archdiocese of St. John’s, I celebrated Mass at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, March 28 at St. Teresa’s Church, Mundy Pond Road. This was followed by Eucharistic Adoration and priests were available at the Church throughout the day for those who wanted to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Mass was celebrated at St. Teresa’s again in the evening at 7:00 p.m. followed by Stations of the Cross by St. Teresa’s Salt and Light Youth Group.

The Bishops’ commission for Evangelization and Catechesis has a selection of new materials and resources to encourage and support individuals to celebrate God’s mercy and forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. These materials can be viewed at the following link: http://www.catholicnews.org.uk/Home/Featured/Confession

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Visit With Mr. Hugh Nangle

On March 18, 2014 I had the pleasure to visit Mr. Hugh Nangle in Ottawa. 
Hugh is the son of Lt. Col. (Padre) Thomas Nangle, C.F., who was the chaplain to the Royal Newfoundland Regiment during World War I, and beloved of the soldiers who fought in that war. After the War, he was appointed as Newfoundland's representative on the Imperial War Graves Commission as Director of War Graves Registration, Enquiries and Battle Exploits Memorials. He dreamed and made reality the "Trail of the Caribou," the memorials to those who fought, died and survived in World War I, and then was the major fundraiser behind the National War Memorial in St. John's.
I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Mr. Nangle and the stories we shared. I was delighted to present to Hugh a scrapbook of pictures, poems, reminiscences and other material related to the work and ministry of his father, Lt. Col. Nangle during and after World War I.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day

On March 17, St. Patrick's Day, I had the honour to celebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist with the Benevolent Irish Society, their members, families, guests and friends, including the Knights of Columbus. The BIS (Benevolent Irish Society) was founded in St. John's, NL on February 17, 1806 for male residents of Newfoundland who were born in Ireland or of Irish ancestry. Benevolence and philanthropy, the founding principles of the organization, continue to be the mandate for the organization as the Society supports educational and charitable needs while celebrating and promoting Irish Newfoundland culture and heritage. After Mass, I received members of the Society at the Basilica Museum for refreshments and socialization.
I extend congratulations as well to the BIS today on the launching of a book today entitled "BIS of St. John's Bicentennial History 1806-2006" by Makaela Mahoney, editors John O'Mara (deceased) and John E. Fitzgerald.

On St. Patrick's feast day, I offer to all this traditional Irish prayer:

May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Lenten Message 2014

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ;

Whenever we embark on the journey of Lent, we do so with the light of Easter guiding our way. We never walk in darkness, because Christ goes before us and walks alongside us, every step of the way.

We have experienced that light very clearly over the past twelve months. Just a short year ago, we received God’s gift of a new Pope, Francis. He is living proof that one person can make a difference in the world. Our hearts have thrilled to recognize in our Pope the witness of a life transfigured by the joy of the Gospel. He radiates joy, welcome and mercy. Like Jesus, Pope Francis shows us the face of God, and the God who shines through Pope Francis is a God of love, kindness, openness and mercy. Indeed, “mercy” has become a core theme of his message.

We read in many places in Scripture that God is kind and merciful. “With the Lord there is mercy, and fulness of redemption (Ps. 130). I once heard “mercy” defined as “God’s loving kindness.” What a wonderful image—a God who gazes on the world, and us, with loving kindness, the way a mother or a father gazes on their beloved children. The love of parents for their children is the best picture any of us will ever have of God’s love.

Pope Francis challenges us to look at the world, and other people, as God looks at them. He challenges us to see others as people, and not simply the sum of all their faults, to see their potential and call them to live this potential in loving service to others. Francis has said that our role in the world is to open doors, and never to shut them, to make every encounter an opportunity to proclaim the Good News.

In a recent homily, Pope Francis said that going to Mass and receiving the Eucharist should make a difference in the way Catholics live. "When we go to Mass, we find ourselves with all sorts of people," the pope said. "Does the Eucharist we celebrate lead me to consider all of them as brothers and sisters? Does it increase my ability to rejoice when they do, and to weep with those who weep?" Pope Francis said it is not enough to say that one loves Jesus; it must be shown in love for those he loved. Ask yourself, he said, if going to Mass helps you reach out to the suffering or "am I indifferent, or am I gossiping, 'Did you see how that one's dressed?' Sometimes people do that after Mass. But this shouldn't happen. There must be "coherence between our Eucharist and our lives."

So, this Lent, I invite you to live, share and reflect the mercy of God in a world that needs to know this wonderful loving kindness. Make the light of Easter present in our world every day. In this way, Pope Francis says, we will become a community of missionary disciples. Let us walk toward Easter in the joy of the Gospel, renewing our commitment to make Christ present in our mercy, our kindness, our love of others, particularly the most vulnerable and needy.

In Christ,

+Martin