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Wednesday 30 July 2014

Inside the Monastery at St. Benôit du Lac, Quebec

Monastery Church

Cloister to the Church

St. Benôit with our genial host, Dom Charles (Fr. Chip)

Some final Pilgrimage Photos

With thanks to Deborah Gyapong for photos of our pilgrimage to the Holy Door in Québec. 

 The Altar of Relics after entering the Holy Door. 

 Preaching at Mass in the Chapel of St. Louis, Notre Dame de Québec

 At the Ursuline Convent and Shrine of St. Marie de L'Incarnation.

Dom Charles (F. Chip) Gilman OSB is our gracious host at the Monastery St. Benoît-du-lac

Tuesday 29 July 2014


At St. Thomas More we are planning a series of social evenings this Fall to view and discuss the remarkable series:

Those interested in meeting in downtown Toronto after supper one evening per week from 7 - 9 pm to share in conversation about Catholic Christianity please let us know at: thomasmorechurch@rogers.com

The Ordinariate is an open door for Anglicans and other Protestants as well as for baptized but unconfirmed Catholics and anyone else who wants to explore the unity to which Christ calls us.

All are welcome. No commitment is necessary other than attending. We are trying to find an evening and a location that best suits those who are interested, so please contact us and we will do our best to find a time this Fall that suits most of those interested.

Monday 28 July 2014

Pilgrimage Concludes

On our pilgrimage of unity we encountered people from Louisiana and Maryland to  Europe and Africa as well as those from Central and South America. 

Daily, young people from  across Canada working with Catholic Christian Outreach http://cco.ca welcome pilgrims from far and wide to the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Québec. Before they enter, pilgrims walk a path which focuses them on the gifts of the Holy Spirit in preparation for the spiritual experience of entering the uniquely designed Holy Door featuring a bronze sculpture of Jesus extending his hand so that pilgrims may grasp the hand of Christ as they enter the holy door.

We learned that the 17th century bishop, St. François de Laval,  of Québec, established the first diocese north of Mexico with jurisdiction for all of North America from Newfoundland to New Orleans. 350 years ago Notre-Dame de Québec became the diocesan cathedral and this year the Holy Door welcomes pilgrims with the offer of a plenary indulgence for the Jubilee Year.

 Shrine of St. François de Laval, Notre-Dame de Quebéc

Upon entry, pilgrims see relics of the saints who established the Church in Québec and North America including those canonized by Pope Francis in April this year: St. François de Laval (1623 - 1708) and Ste. Marie de l’Incarnation (1599 – 1672) whose shrine is in the nearby Ursuline Convent which she founded as the first school for young women in North America.

It is a profoundly moving experience to kneel at the altar of relics before entering the nave of the historic cathedral. The sense of connection to history and to those with whom we share the communion of saints is overwhelming for many. We then move on to pray at the shrine of St. François de Laval, which incorporates the story of his mission by means of an early map etched in the floor of his tomb. In an adjoining room an exquisite documentary film gives the history of the Québec saints and of the Christian principles, which guided the development of the New World.

The cathedral rector, Msgr. Bélanger, told us that the Holy Door will not likely be open again until 2025 for the anniversary of the Council of Nicea.

With the kind permission of Cardinal Lacroix, we celebrated the Ordinariate Use Mass at 11 A.M. Saturday, July 6, along with a few other pilgrims and a staff member. Msgr. Bélanger then asked for a copy of our STM missal booklet to incorporate in the archives of the Jubilee Year – the first ever Ordinariate Mass celebrated in Québec.

See details of how to arrange a pilgrimage at:  http://notredamedequebec.org/en/

St. Benoît du Lac and Madonna House

After our visit to the city of Québec we went to St. Benoît du Lac for a stay with the Benedictine monks at their magnificent monastery on the shores of beautiful Lake Memphremegog just north of Vermont. 


Abbaye de St. Benoît du Lac, Québec

Dom Charles Gilman, OSB, a friend and monk at St. Benoît Abbey (and former Anglican) has been given faculties by Msgr. Steenson and permission by his Abbot to celebrate the Ordinariate Use  Mass.  On July 9 with us and two other monks he celebrated the A.O. Mass for the first time at St. Benoît du Lac.

On then to Madonna House, Combermere, Ontario http://www.madonnahouse.org  to pray for the unity of the Church in a community which celebrates both the Eastern and Western rites of the Catholic Church regularly.  And finally home to Toronto.

 Our Lady of the Woods Chapel, Madonna House

This was the first of what we hope may become regular pilgrimages for STM and other Ordinariate parishes as we explore the rich heritage of the Catholic Church while praying for the unity which is at the heart of the Ordinariate mission.

Monday 7 July 2014

Pilgrimage Holy Door and Sunday Mass

Pilgrims are greeted by Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO) students from all over Canada. A young woman from Calgary made us welcome. Check out Catholic Christian Outreach.

Following a walk through the meditation garden which focusses prayer on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we ascended the specially-built Holy Door entrance platform.  This platform will be removed at the end of 2014 and the holy door sealed.  Msgr Bélanger, the Cathedral Pastor, told us that the holy door would not likely be opened again until the Holy Year of 2025 when it is hoped there will be further progress in Christians unity especially with the Orthodox churches.

Msgr. Belanger has entered a copy of STM Mass Book used at the first ever Ordinariate Mass in the cathedral chapel of St. Louis into the Notre-Dame Cathedral official archive of the 350the Jubilee.  It is a symbol of unity and a sign of hope for Christian and Canadian unity. The "two solitudes" meet in Christ.

Judy Anderson and Jane Hodgins after Sunday Mass at the high altar of Notre-Dame.  Masses are well attended by young people and pilgrims from around the world. We met people from the USA, Western Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa. 

There is pilgrimage information in French and Spanish as well as English and I was told there are quite a number of pilgrims from Mexico, Central and South America as well.

The sanctuary of Notre-Dame is theology in art.  The altar is surrounded by the apostles and patrons of the cathedral including St. Louis (King of France) along with the angels and our risen, Jesus Christ, at the apex.  It is perhaps my favourite baroque sanctuary.

Fellow pilgrims Sarah and Jacquot from Madonna House joined us for Sunday lunch and then to the shrine of Blessed Marie-Catherine de Saint-Augustin one of the nine co-founders of the Church in Canada and of the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, the first hospital in North American. 

               Blessed Marie-Catherine de Saint-Augustine, O.S.A.

(3 May 1632 – 8 May 1668)