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 2019
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.)
THE NATIONAL EVANGELIZATION TEAM (N.E.T.) has been on mission in the Diocese of Hamilton for the past two weeks. Based in Ottawa, NET Ministries sends several teams across the country to reach out to young people in creative ways. One of the teams has served in several parishes in the Diocese since September. There has been only positive feedback from the three Deaneries and two Catholic District School Boards where they have served. They conclude their time with us this weekend at St. Patrick and Most Blessed Sacrament Parishes, Hamilton. Father Tony O’Dell will cook a Thanksgiving turkey for them on Saturday evening in thanksgiving for their dedication!
POPE FRANCIS AND FOUR REFUGEES unveiled a thought provoking statue at last Sunday’s Mass for migrants and refugees at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. ANGELS UNAWARES was sculpted by Timothy Schmalz, a well-known artist from St. Jacob’s, Ontario. It depicts “different states of mind and emotion in a migrant’s journey,” said Mr. Schmalz. Pope Francis explained further, “I wanted this artistic work here in St. Peter’s Square to remind everyone of the evangelical challenge of hospitality.” “When I was a stranger, you welcomed me!”
POPE FRANCIS DECLARED ALL OF OCTOBER 2019 to be an Extraordinary Mission Month with the theme Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission to the World. It marks the hundredth anniversary of the Apostolic Letter on the missionary activity of the Church issued by Pope Benedict XV in the aftermath of World War I, Maximum Illud. The aim of the special month, explained Pope Francis, is “to foster an increased awareness of the missio ad gentes, and taking up again with renewed fervor the missionary transformation of the Church’s life and pastoral activity.” The Diocese of Hamilton has a healthy missionary outreach. Through our Missionary Cooperative Program our Parishes generously support many Dioceses, Religious Communities, Parishes, and projects around the world. Additionally, following the devastating earthquake of 2010, we have entered into a contractual arrangement with the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince by which we strongly support their seminary formation program, assuring the education of priests for service in the Archdiocese into the future. As well, we reach out to many “mission” Dioceses in Canada, providing clergy support and financial support when requested. We have a special concern to assist the Diocese of Churchill-Hudson Bay, by providing administrative advice, pastoral programming, and clergy assistance during the past several years. Our Parishes are “mission minded” when parishioners “go out” into their communities to visit the sick, the homebound, and the prisons. Our Catholic schools provide marvelous opportunities for students to visit developing countries and participate in projects and programs that assist the local communities and are “life-changing” for the students. We are sent to carry out the missionary mandate of Jesus Christ at the end of every Mass: “Go announce the Gospel of the Lord.”
“YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO COME TO A MARVELOUS PLACE – UNIVERSITY! … You have chosen a Catholic university; be emboldened by its vision to educate students to become informed, courageous citizens who have the humility to work together for the common good and the courage to lead by example to build a more just and peaceful society. In the end, choose to act and not be passive.” Excerpt from the first address of Chancellor Bruce Rodriguez, St. Jerome University, Waterloo.
REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE DIOCESAN REFUGEE SPONSORSHIP COMMUNITY, Diane Jones from St. Michael Parish, Waterloo and Elizabeth Meakes from St. Anne Parish, Kitchener, along with Erin Pease, Director of our Refugee Office, had the honour of spending an evening with The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Elizabeth Dowdeswell. In celebration of 40 years of success of Canada’s private sponsorship program, sponsoring stakeholders from across the Province were invited to convene at the Lieutenant Governor’s Suite at Queen’s Park. A key reflection that underpinned the spirit of much of the evening was expressed in the words of young Malala Yousfzai: “We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” Thanks to all who are part of our sponsorship community!
MR. KYLE DALY has been hired as the Retreat Coordinator at Mount Mary Retreat Centre, in Ancaster. He began working in mid-July. In this position, Kyle will report to Mr. Jim Long, the Episcopal Director of Finance and Administration. We welcome Kyle, and we have every assurance that the Centre is in capable and dependable hands. It is a busy place, and will only get busier!
32 TEAMS GATHERED for the Bishop’s Charities Invitational Golf Tournament on Wednesday at the iconic Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville. The weather was perfect for the tourney: sunny all day, with a slight breeze. There was added excitement when 26 year-old Joshua Santucci hit a hole-in-one on hole number three – and won $20,000! His team, and several Chancery personnel volunteering for the day (including me), were witnesses to the exciting event. Once the teams had all completed the 18-hole course, there was a delicious lunch at which prize winners were announced. Thanks to the all the Sponsors, and especially Presenting Sponsor Tripemco Insurance, for their generosity – all in aid of DeMazenod Door at St. Patrick Parish and St. Patrick Catholic Elementary School where hundreds of needy folks are fed everyday!
THE NEW MARIAN CHAPEL AT ST. PETER’S SEMINARY is dedicated to Our Lady of the Annunciation as an expression of gratitude for the assistance of the Diocese of Hamilton with the renovation of the building. The Chapel dedication occurred on Tuesday following a meeting of the Seminary Board of Directors. A beautiful tapestry of the Annunciation, a gift from the Diocese of Hamilton, was hung in the Chapel prior to the dedication. The renovation of the building continues until next Spring when the Seminary will celebrate its completion at the Alumni Reunion 2020!
THIS YEAR’S WEDDING ANNIVERSARY MASS LAST SUNDAY was a remarkably blessed event. 400 couples represented 18,574 years of married life – a powerful witness! One couple celebrated their 72nd anniversary! Congratulations and thanks to Teresa Hartnett and Lena Settimi, from the Diocesan Family Ministry Office for the success of this year’s celebration. As it happened, Teresa and Joe Harnett celebrated their 40th anniversary! Another important reason to celebrate!
THE CCCB STANDING COMMITTEE for Relations with Catholic Movements and Associations has published a special Pentecost message. “The first proclamation of salvation motivates us to urgent collaboration with others, which includes fostering unity, charity, and a dialogue of salvation. We truly desire that the young generations with all their desires will discover a yearning for God, to seek him, to love him, and to serve him.”
ST. PETER YU KOREAN PARISH celebrated their 25th Anniversary last Sunday. Twenty-two members of the Korean Catholic Community in Hamilton were Confirmed as a part of the day-long event. Following the Mass of Thanksgiving and outdoor photos a traditional Korean feast was prepared for parishioners and guests. Former Pastors visiting from Korea joined Father Young Hoon Kim, current pastor and Korean Priests from other Canadian communities, including Father Jung Heong Kwak from St. Paul Chung Parish in Kitchener. Korean Deacon TJ Han, who also serves at St. Anthony Daniel Parish in Kitchener, served as the Deacon for the Mass. May the Parish thrive well into the future!
HUNTER HALL – THE NEW KITCHEN AND DINING FACILITY at Camp Brebeuf was officially opened and blessed yesterday. The hall was named in honour of Hunter Goemans who died in a tragic accident a few years ago. Dark clouds threatened rain, but when the speeches began the sun broke through – and the ribbon was cut! Inside the new dining hall was bright and clean and beautiful. Hunter Hall is ready to welcome hungry campers! Congratulations to the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) on the completion of this major improvement at the camp. The pool – done! The kitchen and dining hall – done! Now for the improvements to the cottages!
THE FRANCIS IMPACT is the title of the most recent documentary on Pope Francis produced by Salt and Light Television. Sequel to its documentary The Francis Effect, it has been programmed for several showings each week on their website or on their television channel. It is a highly emotional and very informative presentation which Pope Francis himself concludes! It is too good to miss!
THE TOWER OF ST. BENEDICT CHURCH IN MILTON IS UP! The corner of Yates and Louis St. Laurent will never be the same! The footings for the new church have been poured. Father Jim Petrie has returned home from a stay in the hospital. As he recuperates at home he will be able to keep a close eye on the developments!
A CHILD’S VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE CATHEDRAL will be launched on the Diocesan website on May 9, 2019. It is the work of teachers and students from the Waterloo Catholic District School Board and was created during a visit to the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King earlier this year. The Virtual Tour uses the latest technology and provides verbal explanations by the students to the various points of interest in the Cathedral. Father David Wynen, Rector of the Cathedral, Dr. Anne Jamieson, Director of the Catechetical Office, Monsignor Murray Kroetsch, and I were given a “sneak preview” earlier this week. It will be a popular visit!
MESSAGES OF CONDOLENCE to Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka, and to Bishop Julian Winston Sebastien Fernandes, Bishop of Badula and President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Sri Lanka, have been sent from the Diocese of Hamilton and from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops! A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at Canadian Martyrs Parish, Hamilton, next Friday, May 3rd, beginning at 7:30 p.m., to pray for all who have been affected by this horror! “May the souls of all who suffered such a tragic death, through the mercy of God, rest in peace! May those who mourn their loss experience the loving and strong support of the Christian community, indeed all people of good will, world-wide!” (from the letter to Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith)
HAPPY EASTER! THE TOMB IS EMPTY! After a time of penance and prayerful renewal, and following the rich celebrations of the high holy days of our faith, we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. He is Risen! We rise with him! This is our profound hope! May the hope of the Resurrection bring abundant joy which blesses family, friends, co-workers, indeed all you meet every day!
HOLY WEEK BEGINS WITH THE PALM SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS! Holy Week precedes the great Feast of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday! It includes the last days of Lent and the beginning of the Easter Triduum (Thursday of the Lord’s Supper, Friday of the Passion, and Holy Saturday). The Easter celebrations begin in the darkness of Saturday evening with the Easter Vigil – “the mother of all vigils”, according to St. Augustine! May these holiest of days draw us all closer to the Lord and to one another!
VOCALFEST 2019 IS A MUSICAL “EXTRAVAGANZA” of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board. Drawing together vocal groups from the six Catholic High Schools in the Hamilton area at the Bishop Ryan Performing Arts Theatre, the young people literally “sang the day away”!!! Energy and enthusiasm abounded as the singers cheered each other on and encouraged every singer and every group – a true celebration of the students and the music that inspires them! Next week, BR Xpression, under the direction of music teacher Dave Tabone, presents another of their sensational evenings of music and fun. It is the culmination of a lot of commitment and hard work by the students! Don’t miss it!
THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION is being celebrated throughout the Diocese these days. Tonight I travel to St. Mary Parish in Owen Sound, and tomorrow I will celebrate at St. Patrick Parish in Burlington. On Sunday morning I am at Holy Cross Croatian Parish in Hamilton, and in the afternoon at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Stoney Creek. Next week I celebrate the Sacrament with young people from St. Catherine of Siena Parish at the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings. It is always a joy to meet the young people who are so well prepared for the celebration. Please continue to pray for this year’s Confirmandi in our Diocese!
MARCH 25th IS THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ANNUNCIATION, patronal feast of the Diocese of Hamilton. A Mass will be celebrated at noon at the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King. Following Mass, invitations have been extended to a luncheon in McNally Hall where the Diocesan Campaign, One Heart, One Soul, will be officially launched. The final version of the campaign video will be presented at that time. Fourteen Parishes have offered to participate in the “Pilot Wave” of the Campaign, and will launch their own efforts in April. Three additional waves over the next two years will allow every Parish in the Diocese to participate! We pray for Our Lady’s intercession for this historic diocesan initiative!
ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY CATECHUMENS were inscribed into the Book of the Elect at ceremonies at the Basilica of Our Lady and the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King over the past two weekends. They are preparing for the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) which will be celebrated in their Parishes at the upcoming Easter Vigil. Both events were very moving opportunities to meet others who have made the same choices about their faith. Thank you to the RCIA Teams and the Pastors of Parishes for your participation in this year’s Rite of Election!
MELISSA FARRELL IS THE NEW PRESIDENT of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton! The long awaited announcement was made yesterday by Dr. Tom Stewart, President and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health System and Sonny Mondavi, Chair of the St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton Board. She will assume the new position on April 29, 2019. Ms. Farrell currently serves as the Assistant Deputy Minister, Acute and Emergency Health Services, within Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. She is widely recognized as an expert in health system funding, quality improvement, and performance management. We celebrate her appointment and wish her well!
THE ANNUAL BISHOP’S CHARITIES DINNER DANCE, sponsored by Councils from the Knights of Columbus in the Hamilton area, takes place at Carmen’s Banquet Hall tomorrow evening. It is always a joy-filled evening – a time to celebrate our faith and support some very good works! Thanks to the Grand Knights and their Councils who so generously show their support for the Bishop and for the charities that will benefit. Thanks to the patrons who are so dedicated in their support. Thanks to the Parishes and parishioners who have purchased tables. May the weather cooperate this year!
THIS IS DAY TWO of the gathering of Presidents of Episcopal Conferences from around the world with other leaders in the Church at the invitation of Pope Francis. The session is called The Protection of Minors in the Church and is taking place in the Synod Hall in The Vatican. Bishop Lionel Gendron, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, is the Canadian representative attending the event. The days are filled with time for prayer, several designated speakers, and group sharing. They began yesterday with a statement by the Holy Father, and will be closed on Sunday with his final address. We pray that the Holy Spirit will move the minds and hearts of the participants, bring healing to those who have suffered, and lead to better ways of dealing with these horrors.
CONGRATULATIONS TO FATHER CON O’MAHONY recipient of the Honorary Membership Award from the Ontario Catholic Supervisory Officers’ Association (OCSOA). The award is given to honour his long and distinguished service to Ontario’s Catholic Education community. It will be presented at the Association’s Annual General Meeting at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, April 11th, 2019. Well deserved!
MARY AND DAVE TABONE ARE REMARKABLE MUSIC TEACHERS in the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board. Recently, elementary students showed their talent in the 5th annual Junior Vocal Festival at the Bishop Ryan Theatre and Performing Arts Centre. The highlight of the evening was the culminating songs performed by 300+ students titled “We Are The World” and “A Million Dreams”! The next musical extravaganza featuring the BR XPRESSION, the BR Celtic Fusion, Beat and the JR Xpression will take place on April 10, 11, 12, 2019. Want to feel good about life? Don’t miss this concert! Thanks Mary and Dave!
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO OUR ASIAN PARISHIONERS who celebrate the Lunar New Year (TET) on February 5th. It is the year of the Golden Pig! The Korean and Vietnamese Pastors and Parish leaders have visited to offer good wishes and gifts. The Vietnamese community has been busy preparing “sticky rice cakes” for their celebrations. We offer our wishes for a blessed New Year – with much happiness and good fortune!
POPE FRANCIS HAS ARRIVED IN PANAMA for the celebration of World Youth Day 2019! The official opening took place last evening at Campo Santa Maria la Antigua in Panama, and continues through Sunday evening when the Holy Father will leave for Rome. There will be a flurry of activities over the weekend, including a visit to young detainees in a prison, the Way of the Cross, a Vigil celebration, the World Youth Day Mass on Sunday morning, and a meeting with volunteers. The theme for the gathering, chosen by Pope Francis, is “I am the servant of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your Word!” We pray for the young people who are participating in the WYD activities – and for the safe travel of the Holy Father!