CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2019 For many, Christmas is a wonderful time of year! Homes are decorated, families gather, gifts are shared, the best meal of the year is served, and the music at Christmas Masses is always uplifting – to say nothing of the Christmas homily!
Heart to Heart
Bishop Crosby's weekly letter to clergy and parishioners in the Diocese.
TO MARK THE RECENT CANONIZATION of Saint John Henry Newman, Cardinal Thomas Collins gave a talk on the relevance of his life at the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate in Guelph on Sunday, November 24th. He also presented a relic of the Saint to the Newman Students’ Centre in Guelph! The presentation was preceded by Evening Prayer which was attended by students from Saint John Paul II Student Centre in Waterloo, students from McMaster Catholic Students Association (MACSA) in Hamilton, as well as students from Guelph, and interested parishioners. Celebrations will continue with a tribute night on January 17th, at the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate, featuring singing of Newman’s hymns and opera as well as readings from his letters, essays, meditations and poetry.
THE ENTIRE LEADERSHIP TEAM OF THE ST. JOSEPH’S HEALTH SYSTEM including all of their entities, as well as Hotel Dieu Shaver Health Centre, in St. Catharines, gathered at McNally Hall in the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King yesterday for a presentation by Father Francis Morrisey, OMI, on the doctrinal and canonical principles relating to the sponsorship of apostolic works. The Health System, once under the care and direction of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Hamilton, is now sponsored by the Diocese of Hamilton and under the direction of a Board of Directors chaired by Sister Anne Anderson, CSJ. Dr. Tom Stewart is the President of the System. Before lunch the participants delighted in a tour of the Cathedral directed by Father David Wynen, Rector.
THE FOUR-DAY VISIT OF CARDINAL GERALD CYPRIEN LACROIX was a blessing for the Diocese. Arriving from Rome, late last Thursday, he was “all energy” to accompany the relic of St. Francois de Laval to the Carmel of St. Joseph in St. Agatha. A prayer service and homily preceded an opportunity for visitors to the Carmel to venerate the relic. The service was followed by a visit to the cloister, where the Cardinal met the entire Carmelite community and gave the Nuns the opportunity to venerate the relic. A visit to the Precious Blood Sisters in Dundas followed in the afternoon. He presided at the 11:00 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral Basilica, one of four Masses that were packed with parishioners and visitors. His homily was a “barn-burner”. The music, under the direction of Mr. Rob Corso was stirring. It was a wonderful way to celebrate the Cathedral’s Titular Feast – Christ the King!
IT IS A “TWO CARDINAL” WEEKEND for the Diocese of Hamilton! Cardinal Thomas Collins is visiting his home city of Guelph where the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate and the Newman Centre of the University of Guelph will jointly host an evening celebration in honour of the recent canonization of St. John Henry Newman. The evening will begin with sung Evening Prayer on Sunday in the Basilica at 7:00 p.m., followed by a talk on the Saint by the Cardinal. At the end of his presentation, the Cardinal will present a relic of St. John Henry Newman to the Guelph Newman Centre. All are welcome! As announced in last week’s Heart to Heart, Cardinal Gerald Lacroix will celebrate all the Masses at the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King and speak about the ministry of St. Francois de Laval. Two great ways to celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King!
GERALD CYPRIEN CARDINAL LACROIX, Archbishop of Quebec and Primate for Canada is visiting the Diocese next weekend. He will accompany the relic of St. Francois de Laval, first Bishop of New France. Next Friday he will visit the Carmel of St. Joseph in the morning and the Precious Blood Monastery in the afternoon. He will preach at all the Masses at the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King on the Titular Feast, and he will preside at the 11:00 a.m. Mass. We welcome him warmly and we look forward to learning more about the saintly and historic Bishop Laval.
IN A DECREE DATED TODAY, the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate has been declared a designated Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary, effective December 8, 2019. The Decree will be read at a Mass celebrated on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is celebrated this year on December 9, 2019. As a Diocesan Shrine, the Basilica will promote, among other Marian devotions, annual celebrations of Marian Days and processions, an annual Novena, and welcome pilgrimages from various parts of the Diocese. Thank you to Father Ian Duffy, Rector of the Basilica, for promoting this initiative and for overseeing the program of the Shrine!
THE FIRST BISHOPS’ BOWL was won by Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School last Friday evening. The game, between Bishop Ryan CSS and Bishop Tonnos CSS junior (Grades 9 & 10) football teams, will be played annually, next year on the field at BT. It was a hard-hitting, fast game; a lot of fun to watch! Congratulations to both teams and coaches on a game well-played!
MORE THAN 20 MEMBERS OF THE SPIRITUAL CARE TEAM for St. Joseph’s Health System under the direction of System Manager of Spiritual Care, Gary Payne, gathered with me in the Bishops’ Board Room at the Chancery Office on Wednesday as part of the celebration of Spiritual Care Awareness Week. All health care sites were represented at the gathering. Dr. Tom Stewart, President and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health System was also present. Earlier in the week he wrote a letter in which he expressed his admiration for the work of the Spiritual Care providers in our health care institutions! Stories were shared that touched the heart. Prayers were said that touched the soul. A meal was served that nourished the body. And photos were taken to remind us of a blessed time together!
WORLD MISSION SUNDAY is celebrated this Sunday, October 20th! This year it is marked in the context of the Extraordinary Mission Month which was inaugurated by Pope Francis on October 1st. “The missionary mandate touches us personally: I am a mission, always; you are a mission, always; every baptized man and woman is a mission. People in love never stand still: they are drawn out of themselves; they are attracted and attract others in turn; they give themselves to others and build relationships that are life-giving. As far as God’s love is concerned, no one is useless or insignificant. Each of us is a mission to the world, for each of us is the fruit of God’s love!” (Excerpt from Pope Francis’ letter of June 9, 2019, Pentecost Sunday, in which he convoked the Extraordinary Mission Month.)