Sunday, August 20, 2006

2nd Annual Flatrock Penitential Pilgrimage

On Saturday September 9, 2006, the second historic penitential pilgrimage to the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Flatrock, Newfoundland, will take place. This holy site was personally visited and blessed by Pope John Paul II during his 1984 visit to Canada.

Last September, the first such pilgrimage was a bold, visionary event, and served as a lighting rod to animate further acts of penance in order “to beseech the divine assistance in season of deep affliction” by invoking God’s promise: “then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.”

The following is a report I wrote last year regarding the first pilgrimage:

About 40 or more contrite souls showed up just before noon hour on Saturday for the four kilometer procession to the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. The procession got off to a start shortly after noon and included three stages and stops, each of which was characterized by song and prayer. The last kilometer of the procession was completed in silence. The weather was cool, overcast and breezy, but pilgrims were nonetheless thankful.

After arriving at the Church and Grotto, pilgrims enjoyed a half hour or so of refreshments and fellowship at the parish hall, after which time each pilgrim moved to the Church for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and/or Grotto for Stations of the Cross. This was followed by Mass and Benediction officiated by His Excellency Archbishop William Aquin Carew, who graciously agreed to be the chaplain for the pilgrimage. At about 5:15 pm each pilgrim headed home.

Enthusiasm and gratitude ran high from everyone who attended the event and many expressed the hope that such pilgrimages could be an annual or even semi-annual event.

A photo gallery of last year’s event can be viewed here.

(A local Newfoundlander, Vicki TH, has a very nice photoset and slideshow of Flatrock and the grotto.)

An Historic Statement of Contrition

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You; I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend You, my God, Who is all good and deserving of my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.

Fearless Canadian Bishop Frederick Henry Is Exemplary Model

Rome had its “Panzer Cardinal” but Canada has its “Panzer Bishop.” Or perhaps we should pinch the title “God’s Rottweiler” for our very own Calgary Bishop Frederick Henry.

What is this small humble Bishop doing that garners him such attention?

It’s nothing mysterious. It’s not even complicated.

He’s simply acting like an authentic Catholic Bishop.

Last fall, LifeSite News reported that Bishop Henry was addressing a group of Christian pastors in Minnesota on the ramifications of the Canadian redefinition of marriage. The panzer Bishop has stated that the passage of the same-sex “marriage” law has triggered no less than a social revolution in Canada.

The courage of our Calgary Bishop has attracted attention in the United States where many state laws legalizing same-sex unions are pending. He’s been warning Americans of the same tactics and rhetoric used by homosexual activists in Canada to achieve their ends.

As a defender of God’s Holy Sacrament of Marriage, Bishop Henry is not content with risking offense and prosecution in Canada alone for his “radical” Catholic teachings. Some of his warnings to Americans:

Canadians who believe in the historic definition of marriage, who believe that children need a mother and father, are now the legal equivalent of racists.

Among the hottest battlegrounds are Canadian schools. Children will have to be taught about homosexual acts in health class, as they now are about heterosexual acts.

The enforcers of the new Canadian morality are the Human Rights Tribunals, an extra-judicial “court” that does not recognize a requirement to follow established legal practices that make up due process. The human rights tribunals have become like thought police.

Again, last fall, Bishop Henry rightly condemned Euthanasia Bill C-407, not mixing any words and insisting that euthanasia “has nothing to do with natural death or dignity, and everything to do with killing.”

In one of his characteristic exposes in the Calgary Sun, even quoting from one of George Orwell’s essays, he exhorts "in sound doctrine" and "refutes those who contradict":

"One of the misguided reasons for the current attractiveness of this kind of legislation is the exaggerated role personal autonomy has come to play in human consciousness today. Derived from the enlightenment movement of the 18th century, personal autonomy has erroneously developed into a concept that stresses so-called rights but forgets about responsibilities."

Bishop Henry stressed that a dying person also “has responsibilities to others and to society.”

“Canadian citizens should be assured that their dignity at every stage of life is recognized by government as important,” Bishop Henry concluded. “They must be reassured by government their needs will be met humanely. They must be shown true compassion in the care they receive from society, not through death-dealing, but by being looked after in a life-giving way.

As Canadians, we all have a duty to speak up for the rights and dignity of every citizen. In short, it is Bill C-407 that must die!”

Let’s see. We have 63 Roman-Rite Bishops in Canada, 8 Eastern-Rite. The loud voice of just one of them is reaching across Canada and far into America.

Is he an anomaly? Is he an extremist or a radical perhaps? Is that what we should believe?

God forbid!

Does he believe his Church? Yes. And what the role of a Bishop is? Obviously yes.

Should that constitute him as radical or activist though?

God forbid!

Does he take the Catechism seriously? He must; he quotes from it regularly.

Is he warning his flock like the Good Shepherd said he should? Yes. He’s been hauled before a Tribunal precisely because of it.

Think of seventy courageous Bishops in Canada. Of course they wouldn’t all be exactly like the panzer Bishop, but they would all unequivocally teach and preach Jesus Christ throughout Canada, sanctify the people and defend the truth of the Church.

I could live with individuality within those parameters, couldn’t you?

I vote that we disband the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. I’ve heard that Benedict XVI doesn’t favor them anyway.

And that we institute the new Training College for Canadian Bishops. I vote for Bishop Henry as the first chancellor.

Who knows, maybe the former Panzer Cardinal would vote likewise.