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The Relic of St. Francis Xavier

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! 

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Reflecting the Carillon

Dear Diocesan Friends,

Twenty years ago, Fr. Jack Bastigal suggested that I apply for the position of Editor of The Carillon, which was to become the diocesan communication vehicle from the Offices of the Diocese to the “people in the pews.” Mario Toneguzzi was hired and published first the issues of 1997. At that time, I was running an advertising business, and in God’s time, I was contracted by the Diocese to sell advertising in the publication to offset costs; and to become the new editor in 1998. Shortly after Bishop Henry arrived in March 1998, he had a vision for change in the Diocese. He made The Carillon an important part of diocesan communication during the time of his leadership.

Now Bishop McGrattan is here and he, too, has a vision for positive change in the Diocese. Collaborations at the Pastoral Centre will improve our communication strategies. The print editions of The Carillon will change in format and be published quarterly instead of monthly. This edition of The Carillon gives a glimpse of the new look with more in-depth articles, and much less advertising than in past editions.

In the early days we had an editorial board. Together, we shaped the publication by offering a writers’ style guide that ensured that our writers would write not only to inform, but to give formation, using catechetical resources including: the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, encyclicals of the Pope(s), the Compendium of the Catholic Church, and the General Directory for Catechesis.

We are grateful to the many contributors who made the time to pray, research, and write articles. All of the writers deserve special recognition, but for now, we thank our most regular columnists: Bishop Henry; Bishop W. T. McGrattan; Gabriele ­Kalincak, Director of the Life and Family Resource Centre for the popular Family Flyer;  Dr. Simone Brosig in the Liturgy Office for the articles that offered a current understanding of the Church liturgical seasons and celebrations; Carol Hollywood, for the Library News offering reviews of books and resources, and historical vignettes from the Archives office; and Dr. Gerry Turcotte, President of St. Mary’s University for his column for the past six years.

The Carillon has highlighted many special diocesan events. In particular: Jubilee 2000; World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto; The Bishop’s Cup (hockey game at the Saddledome between the priests and retired Flames’ players); The Bishop’s Dinner; Ordinations to the priesthood – including the four that were celebrated at McMahon Stadium in 2002; Ordinations to the Permanent Diaconate; The Palio Country Fair; the Centennial of the Diocese in 2012; One Rock; World Youth Day at Home in 2013; The Jubilee Year of Mercy 2016; and the Jubilee anniversaries of many parishes, priests, and religious. Other programs and events initiated by the Diocese over the past 20 years include: the Pastoral Care and Bereavement ministry courses; the For Better and For Ever marriage preparation program; Project Rachel/The Song for Rachel; FaithLife; Strengthening Our Parish Communities safety program; Liturgy for the Miscarried; and many more to remember!

What would a publication be without beautiful front cover artwork? We are grateful to have received almost every cover photograph or design as a gift to share with you. We want to give special recognition to the photographers: Ellis Bartkiewicz and Giselle Nerlien, from St. Luke’s Parish; Fr. Fred Monk, now in Medicine Hat; Bandi Szakony from St. Anthony’s Parish, Calgary; Fr. Mariusz Sztuk, St. Gabriel’s Parish, Chestermere; Warren Harbeck, St. Mary’s Parish, Cochrane; Ryan Factura, St. Michael’s Parish, Calgary; Constant de la Cruz, and Victor Panlilio from Canadian Martyrs Parish; and artist, Paty Gasca in Mexico who created beautiful Christmas images that were included on nine of our front covers over the years!

The Carillon has been printed at Calgary Central Web on a “web” printing press for years. I once took my 95 year-old father-in-law to see the production. He was wide-eyed and absolutely amazed to see the professional setup and to learn that it takes only 1.5 hours to print 17,000 copies! After that, it is trimmed, bound, and prepared for delivery over the course of a few days.

Fr. Larry Bagnall (or Doug and Sue Bagnall in the winter months) arrive at the printers at 6:30 a.m. and proceed to drive and deliver each bundle of Carillons to every parish in the city of Calgary, and Strathmore, Airdrie, Cochrane, Canmore, and Okotoks. This is a 9-hour day of driving, followed by the 12-hour day of driving the edition to every Catholic parish door in southern Alberta! We thank our drivers for their dedicated service for the past 20+ years.

The Carillon will continue to be published in the new year. We’re looking forward to new design, new themes, and new articles. Thank you for sending in the Carillon Steering Committee Surveys last month telling us what you want to see in upcoming editions. We are considering all of the answers, and your comments. Please stay in touch by email, monique@adita.com or phone, (403) 295-8124 to learn more about the new publication.

We wish you a blessed Advent and holy Christmas,

Monique and Myron Achtman

Related Offices Carillon
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Celebrate Christmas


The Christmas season celebrates the mystery of the Incarnation and the manifestation of Jesus Christ to the world: past, present and future.

The mystery and feast of Christmas (the Nativity of the Lord) is second only to Easter in the liturgical life of the Church. The first week of the season is the octave of Christmas which closes on the feast of the Mother of God (Jan 1).  Some cultures preserve the traditions of “Twelve Days” for the celebration, extending Christmas Day through Epiphany.  

ASPECTS OF THE SEASON

Christmas is a season of feasts. Some are celebrations of various aspects of the mystery of the Nativity, while others are feasts in their own right that are as old as or older than the Christmas feast itself. Unlike the days immediately after Easter (the octave or eight days), the period after Christmas sees the inclusion of many and varied celebrations.

These feasts reflect on various facets of the Christmas event. 

  • Holy Innocents: reflecting Matthew 2.13-18, December 28th.
  • Holy Family: on the Sunday after Christmas or December 30th. The newest of the seasonal feasts, included in the calendar in 1921.
  • Solemnity of Mary: January 1st has supported a varied number of titles including the civil New Year. It has commemorated the Circumcision (and Naming) of Jesus and been simply the “Octave Day” of Christmas. The celebration of Mary brings the day to the earliest of her titles and the oldest feast in honour of the Mother of God. Holy Name of Jesus: 
  • January 3rd Epiphany: a feast from the Eastern Churches and the original Eastern celebration of Christ’s birth.  It now commemorates the “manifestation” of Christ to the nations and is kept on January 6th or the Sunday after January 1st. The liturgical texts centre on the magi, but include as well references to Jesus’ baptism and his first miracle at Cana as images of his appearance to the world, event that are celebrated specifically later on. 
  • Baptism of the Lord: Jesus begins his saving work; the Sunday (or Monday) after Epiphany.

Canada’s two Holydays of Obligation (December 25th and January 1st) are observed during the Christmas season.

Text: Celebrating the Season of Christmas, National Liturgy Office, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Related Offices Office of Liturgy
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A Field Hospital in the Digital Universe

Parish staff and communicators were in for a real treat when they attended the 2017 Parish Communications Workshop at the Pastoral Centre. Fr. Thomas Rosica was the keynote speaker, sharing wisdom and reflections on his digital media ministry at Salt & Light TV.

After Bishop McGrattan led us in prayer, 60 participants from all over the diocese listened attentively to the keynote and breakout sessions. We learned many things about social media including: best practices, practical tips such as writing skills, creating quality videos and graphics on a budget, and tips on how to make an memorable impression with a branding strategy.

While these are all essential tools for digital communicators, Fr. Rosica’s keynote session reminded us that the one essential image we should keep in mind is that our digital media ministries are like a “field hospital in the digital universe,” a phrase he borrowed from Pope Francis.

Fr. Rosica explained that the digital world is a real battlefield where many wounded souls are taking part in, or are the victim of character assassination, online bullying, and slander. Many of these actions are even done in the name of defending the faith. As Pope Francis wants us to uphold the truth with love, Fr. Rosica urged us to stay away from quick and instant responses in the digital world, and that “no matter how hasty, undigested, and unreflective the responses are from our audience, our patient listening must always triumph.”

Parish communicators are indeed field hospital workers ready for deployment, sent to build bridges for those who are wounded, and to facilitate real encounters with each other, and with Christ. As Pope Francis encouraged us in his 2016 World Communication Day message, “… our hearts and actions are inspired by charity, by divine love, then our communication will be touched by God’s own power.”

Being authentic in our online social interactions means that we should reflect the spirit of our faith in our Internet postings, including a commitment to justice, peace, honesty, and transparency, with a gracious, kind style.

So the real question for parish communicators is not how to use the slickest technology for vocation promotion, ministries, parish life, school, worship, or to be relevant and to appeal to the younger generation. Fr. Rosica wants us to ask this question instead: “Does the use of new media serve to deepen our attentiveness to the presence of God, to the risen Christ, to the Living Spirit, to the community gathered about us, and to the world in which we are called to minister?” Do we embody Christ’s love in our digital ministry, not simply to be connected but to grow into true encounters with each other?

Fr. Rosica reminded all of us to continue to be inspired by Pope Francis who communicates with both his words and actions: “Let us learn from him how to model this badly needed kindness, goodness, mercy and joy to a wounded world and broken humanity around us.”

Related Offices Social Media & Website
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