Our guests, donors and sponsors showed incredible generosity and more than $80,000 was raised for our beneficiaries!
More than 800 guests including over 100 youth and representatives from 35 parishes, all 5 school boards, 16 Knights of Columbus and Catholic Women's League Councils, and 11 businesses, community partners and lay organizations attended this year's event at the Commonwealth Centre on October 19, 2017.
Guests enjoyed being entertained by singer & songwriter Janelle and the Bishop Carroll High School Choir before being inspired by the words of Michael Chiasson and Bishop William McGrattan.
Click the photo below to browse through the 2017 Bishop's Dinner Album
If the slideshow does not play in your browser, please view directly in the FLICKR PHOTO ALBUM HERE.
Recently, I spent a few days at a conference that dealt with many issues, including euthanasia, that have preoccupied healthcare professionals in recent months. Although I am not a doctor, I attended the MaterCare International Conference for Catholic obstetricians committed to respecting human life at all stages.
As it turned out, as a lay person, I was in good company at the event. Other non-physicians also attended. In the midst of a busy holiday trip, the conference was a welcome break – a chance to ponder some challenging ethical issues, away from the thousands of tourists milling about St. Peter’s Basilica, just metres from the conference venue.
The conference held some surprises. Many Catholics are familiar with the story of St. Gianna Beretta Molla, the Catholic doctor who sacrificed her life to save the life of her unborn baby. Gianna Molla was canonized in 2004. St. Gianna’s daughter, saved by her mother’s sacrifice, is now an adult and was one of the conference speakers.
A devout Catholic, Vincent Kemme, stands apart from many scientists in a fundamental way. He does not believe resistance to euthanasia can succeed if it is purely secular. In Canada, many who oppose the practice — along with assisted suicide — do so on the grounds that it’s unreasonable, unnecessary and harmful to society, but they often go no further.
Kemme argues that euthanasia is a spiritual problem. The practice has sadly gained the most traction in the Netherlands. About 6,000 people will be put to death there this year, up from 2,000 cases only a few years ago. Kemme argues Dutch society has become largely secular, effectively cutting God out of the picture. He believes it is no coincidence that euthanasia has made the greatest inroads there, although the number of cases in Belgium is also on the rise.
By largely excluding God, the Dutch have done what secular philosophers only contemplated. They have substituted man for God, replacing divine law by human reason, which they consider supreme. Despite the grim trend in the Netherlands — a government report some years back noted involuntary euthanasia was on the rise — Kemme is not without hope for the future.
He believes the solution to the euthanasia problem lies in a return to God and prayer. A Catholic group he belongs to practises daily prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, underscoring that Catholics should avoid judging those involved in euthanasia, recalling the Church’s longstanding distinction between the sinner and the sin. He believes that resistance to euthanasia will succeed only if we oppose peacefully, without judging. “There is no room for aggression,” he told conference attendees.
St. Gianna Molla
For Gianna Beretta Molla, the path to sanctity began in late 1961 with an unwelcome event: the diagnosis of a uterine tumour during the early stages of her pregnancy. At the time, the attending surgeon offered abortion as an option, one that would very likely save Gianna’s life and allow for future pregnancies, should she so choose. In six years of marriage, this was her sixth pregnancy.
Yet, abortion was one option that St. Gianna Molla never entertained. Asked what other options remained, the surgeon offered one with potential, at least from her perspective. He could surgically remove the benign tumour and allow the pregnancy to come to full term. This option was risky for baby and mother, but offered one certainty: there would be no abortion.
The child was born, and named Gianna. Years later, her father, Pietro Molla, related the sequence of events to his daughter — now a geriatrician in Italy — also a speaker at this conference in Rome. She spoke lovingly of her parents and told the story in her own words:
“Mama prayed that the Lord would save her life and mine,” she said. “Two weeks before the delivery, she told my father, ‘Pietro, if you have to decide between the baby’s life and mine, do not hesitate: choose the child.’”
As it happened, when the delivery took place, it was safe and the newborn was healthy. For her part, St. Gianna Molla survived the delivery, but her condition worsened. In only a few hours, she developed a high fever and severe abdominal pains that did not dissipate.
“After a week of agony, during which Mom often repeated the words, ‘Jesus, I love you,’ her condition continued to deteriorate. She did not want to die in hospital, and so was returned to our family home, where she died, aged 39.”
Gianna, the daughter, named after her mother, has had many years to reflect on the lives of her parents. “Both the lives of Mom and Dad were the occasion of great joy, but also of great suffering,” she said.
Recalling the years her father carried on after his wife’s death — Pietro lived into his nineties until his death a few years ago — his daughter related something he said before his death. “Eternity is not enough for me to thank the Lord for the graces he has sent, in particular, through your mother’s canonization.”
Reflecting on her parents’ lives, Gianna offered her own thoughts, invoking the Blessed Virgin Mary. “Our Heavenly Mother has asked us for an unconditional ‘yes’ to, and our humble acceptance of God’s will, even when we don’t understand it,” she said. “My [experience] teaches me that the Way of the Cross is the way of joy: when we have the Lord on our side, when we follow his holy way, and see everything in the light of faith.”
- Presentations from MaterCare’s Rome 2017 conference are accessible online at the MaterCare Media website, at www.matercare.com
This is the last of my regular monthly columns as The Carillon adopts a new format and focus. While I never expected to have the privilege of writing this column on an on-going basis, I have certainly become used to the regularity of the project, preparing reflections on the story of St. Mary’s University, and on the story of my own faith in our times, as the subject revealed itself to me month after month. As a lay person, I have made a sincere effort to capture the joy of faith in every day experiences – from seeing and noting funny, misprinted church bulletin announcements, and charity event listings, to sharing misremembered prayers, and the imperfect study of our saints. Through it all I have been blessed with a generous audience, and have been surprised, not just at the wide reach of The Carillon itself, but also at the opportunities, both in and out of church, for me to meet with readers of this humble column.
Recently someone thanked me for writing Small Things: Essays in Faith and Hope, the collection published by Novalis that brought together the first three years of the columns. In truth, I’m the one who owes a note of thanks to the readers for their support, ideas, and generosity of spirit. I have never received criticism from the community for my ordinary effort to put these columns together. On the contrary I have been blessed with kind words and support. So too, has St. Mary’s University, the subject of so many of my columns. For this I thank all of you.
It does seem fitting to be writing this at the close of the year and in preparation for Christmas. There is a sense of reckoning that comes with the end of one year and the preparation for the next, and also a sense of stocktaking. It is a time when we gather in thanks for the gifts the Lord has given us, most importantly the miracle of his Son’s birth. It is a time when families gather to celebrate, to pray and to plan for the year ahead. And it is also a chance to say goodbye.
I want to use this opportunity to thank two special women who played a pivotal role in the shaping of these columns: Monique Achtman, a most generous editor and comrade-in-arms, always quick to offer advice and support; and my friend Helen Kominek, the first person to read each column and provide insight into their improvement, including, at times, a clear suggestion that I scrap my first draft and start again! To both Monique and Helen I offer my profound thanks. And to all of The Carillon’s vast audience: thank you for reading.
- If you would like to continue receiving Dr. Turcotte’s monthly columns, either electronically or in hardcopy, please send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
Merry Christmas and God bless,
From all of us at St. Mary’s University
A culminating moment in the ritual of ordination for a new priest is when, after having received the laying on of hands and investiture in the priestly garments, the new priest kneels before the Bishop who anoints his hands with Sacred Chrism. The Bishop says, “The Lord Jesus Christ, whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit, guard and preserve you, that you may sanctify the Christian people and offer sacrifices to God.” The anointed hands of the priest, therefore, are to become a public sign of Christ’s ongoing ministry to His people in order that they may be made holy. There is no more important and powerful way that this occurs than through the sacrament of Baptism.
Hence, it is very fitting that, to this day, is preserved the incorrupt hand of St. Francis Xavier – the 16th century Jesuit missionary who is reported to have baptized more than 30,000 souls in multiple countries stretching from India to Japan during his voyages. He will continue his missionary endeavours on a cross-country tour throughout Canada in January 2018, as this physical reminder of his undying priestly ministry is received into our midst.
Upon having chosen the name of Francis, it was presumed by many that our Holy Father — the first Jesuit Pope in history — was pointing to his own Jesuit predecessor. It didn’t take long for Pope Francis to clarify that it was under the patronage of St. Francis of Assisi that he had chosen his name – but certainly not because he didn’t honour and revere the memory of his saintly confrere! In fact, in the programatic document of his whole pontificate, Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis reminds all of us who are part of the Body of Christ that we are meant to live out our baptismal call through the identity of being “Missionary Disciples,” as he put it. “Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are ‘disciples’ and ‘missionaries,’ but rather that we are always ‘missionary disciples.’ If we are not convinced, let us look at those first disciples, who, immediately after encountering the gaze of Jesus, went forth to proclaim him joyfully: “We have found the Messiah!” [Jn 1:41] (E.G. 120).
An organization in our nation who has been taking up and living this call to missionary discipleship for almost 30 years now is the university campus movement, Catholic Christian Outreach. CCO has facilitated the conversion or reversion of innumerable souls across our country through their tenets of proclaiming the gospel, clearly and simply, to one person at a time. This year, in honour of Canada’s sesquicentennial, CCO has partnered with Archbishop Terence Predergast, SJ and the Jesuit curators of the relic of St. Francis at the Church of the Gesù in Rome to bring this sacred artifact to tour the cities where CCO is doing their work on our university campuses.
We will be blessed to host the visit of St. Francis Xavier’s relic to Calgary and honour his presence with liturgical prayer and personal veneration from January 21 - 22, 2018. More details are soon to come, but one thing is for sure: we should already now be praying for a fresh outpouring of the same missionary zeal that inspired St. Francis to renew the evangelical efforts of our diocese. St. Francis Xavier, pray for us!
- For more information about the pilgrimage schedule, please visit http://www.cco.ca/relic