Archdiocese of St. John's

Tuesday, 15 April 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


 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.