Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Young Women Called to Consecrated Life

 This years World Youth Day has come and gone however, the memories and inspiration for those who have experienced it in person or through media will last a lifetime. In the past, WYD has been known to foster many vocations from young attendees. In Spain this year the Holy Father spoke to young women about the importance of religious life saying, “The Church needs your youthful fidelity, rooted and built up in Christ.”

 Archbishop J. Michael Miller’s Message in ‘Praying for Vocations’ 2011, states, “A sure sign of the spiritual health of a local Church is its willingness to cultivate vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life” affirming our Holy Fathers message.

 Two young women from the Vancouver diocese have already heard this call to consecrated life and a brief overview of their orders will be introduced over the next couple posts. The orders they are called to are each different and unique, having its own charism and serving a specific purpose within the Church.

  The Statue of Liberty, Broadway and Times Square are just a few of the world famous attractions that come to mind when one visits New York City. For Renee Schmitz traveling to the Empire State on August 31 will be about “experiencing Christ’s love through community life and to live by His providence.”

 Renee was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta and earned her Nursing Degree from the University of Alberta, after which she was fortunate to secure employment at Lion’s Gate Hospital in North Vancouver. While living on the North Shore, Renee became an active member of St.Edmund’s Parish.

 Thanks in part to an advertisement in the BC Catholic newspaper Renee became involved with National Campus Life Network from 2008 -2010. During her time she was introduced to the “Sisters of Life” order and began to discern more deeply about a vocation with the help of Carmelite Fr. Ranjan De’sa of St. Edmund’s Parish. Through prayer, in September 2010 Renee became an Aspirant of the 3rd Order of Carmelites.

God continued to move Renee in a special way when she became the Director of Canadian Nurses for Life from the summer 2009-2011. Being a nurse for the last 5 years affected Renee where she was able to see first hand the need for her to continue to work in the Pro-Life Cause.

 Her decision to answer the call to her vocation did not happen over night but rather, through 10 years of prayer and understanding the importance of the Dignity of the Human Person. Renee chose the Sisters of Life because of their dedication to preserve the sanctity of every human life.

  The ‘Sisters of Life’ Order was established 20 years ago by John Cardinal O’Connor, Archbishop of New York, who saw a great need for a more visible presence for those who will help protect life. The Formation House is located in the Bronx, which will be where Renee will spend her postulancy. It will be a year specific to the contemplative life; prayer and studies. Postulants may have 1 phone call and 1 planned visit a month and two trips home a year for week duration each. The Sisters all take the vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and a fourth vow to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life.

 When asked if she will miss being a Registered Nurse, Renee stated that although “it is difficult to put down my stethoscope my #1 vocation is love, God calls me to Love. And God will continue to use my gifts that He has given me to share with others in a special way. Unfortunately in today’s society we identify others and ourselves by our careers”.

 When asked what advice she would give to other young women who might be discerning a call to the life Renee answered: “I would like to tell them to continue to open their hearts to Christ’s abundant love and graces through prayer, the Sacraments, Mass and Spiritual Direction. These are the essentials to discern God’s will in our lives and to tell women what our Blessed Pope John Paul II often called us to do, to not be afraid.”

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Our Parish Camping Trip

Mass at the campground at Fintry Provincial Park
 Fr.Deprey celebrates Mass
 General Store, candy, candy
 O'Keefe Ranch

 Members of Holy Family Parish FSSP

First Annual Event

Parishioners from Holy Family in Vancouver made their First Annual camping trip to Fintry Provincial Park on Okanagan Lake the week of July 24, 2011. For five days the aroma of incense was overtaken by the smell of insect repellent.
Besides the usual activities of swimming and hiking, the opportunity for daily Mass provided a great way for parishioners to interact with one another outside of Sunday service (including swatting away at mosquitoes during daily rosary).
The additional bond of sharing meals, stories and the popular anonymous “Ask Father” a question box (overflowing by day 3) brought a special touch to this spiritual retreat. The location provided the opportunity for a pilgrimage to a historic Catholic site located approximately 30 min. drive from Fintry, the Historic O’Keefe Ranch. The visit initiated inspiration and supplied an educational outlook on a Catholic family living in the 19th century in the Okanagan.

 Cornelius O’Keefe founded the Ranch in 1867 with his business partner Thomas Greenhow, at one time it was one of the largest cattle ranches in British Columbia consisting of more than 20,000 acres. With the full support of O’Keefe in 1886, plans were drawn up and local Catholics were asked to contribute their money and time to build the Church, which was finally completed in 1888-89. The rustic looking Church sits adjacent to a cemetery where many of the O’Keefe family member’s have been laid to rest. Recently the appeal of the Church, due to the location and small size, has grown in popularity with wedding events from all denominations. However on this Tuesday in July its Roman Catholic identity was restored even if just for a few hours providing a venue for Mass offered in the Traditional Latin Rite. The traditional High Altar with communion rail along with priestly vestments encased in glass on the wall and statues of Our Lord and Blessed Mother was a reminder of the roots of this Church; The Church has never had a resident priest, but was served by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate until the 1940’s. By this time the establishment and growth of St.James parish in Vernon (1908) surpassed St.Anne’s as the Central Catholic Church in the area. Father Eric Deprey of Holy Family parish celebrated Mass in the Extraordinary form and local priest Father Dale Normandeau from St.James in Vernon was the guest homilist and gave a short history lesson on the tiny Chapel.
The campsite provided a great opportunity for public witness to our faith, with our camping neighbors who recognized our Catholic identity.
See you next year.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Papal Medallions

My oldest boy had his birthday earlier this week and received these medallions. Has anyone seen them before?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Guadalupe: A Living Image

A friend of mine recently went on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, thinking about his trip brought back memories of my own pilgrimage to the holy site. Whenever I go on a pilgrimage I find I am always eager to learn more once I have left  the shrine.

My theology professor gave me this dvd to watch,which is based on the apparition of The Virgin Mary appearing to Juan Diego in December 1531 in Mexico. Our Blessed Mother tells the peasant to wrap his tilma ( cloak)  with Castilian roses that had miraculously bloomed at the rocks by his feet. Juan Diego goes to his Bishop and when he meets the bishop and opens his cloak an incredible scene is revealed. It is the image of The Holy Virgin impressed upon it.

This documentary runs a little less than an hour and explains in detail the scientific analysis of the 13 figures that have been found in The Holy Mother's eyes. Another detail I was unaware of is that the stars on Mary's cloak are positioned exactly as the night sky would have them on the day of the miracle on De. 12 1531.

Scientists and artists cannot explain the painting technique and how the cloth has managed to stay uncorrupted for five centuries.

The dvd gives a short synopsis of the story and provides an interesting tool for anyone looking to learn more about Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Catholic Home Schooling Event

My latest article published in the BC Catholic newspaper

Catholic Home Schooling Event

Will home schooling form children into socially inept individuals who will be unable to deal with their peers? Rather, the opposite; Julia Fogassy of Seattle, Washington can affirm to this.
As a home educator for twenty-five years and mother of nine, Mrs. Fogassy offered an overflowing fountain of knowledge about the positive effects home schooling can have on one’s children. Acting as the marquee speaker at the Catholic Home Schooling event on February 19th at Holy Family Parish in Vancouver, Mrs. Fogassy described with charity and humor both the challenges and rewards of her endeavors; instilling that nothing has to be complicated. She offered her audience advice and innovative methods in teaching, as well as tactics that she herself had found success in. One such recommendation regarded teaching a foundation, a pre-step, for young children to print the alphabet ‘…use corn meal to cover a baking sheet and have the child trace each letter. Remember, never use sugar for obvious reasons.”
 As a founding member of the Northwest Catholic Family Educator Conference, Julia Fogassy’s continued dedication of bringing families the best education materials available led her to design a complete reading, writing and phonics program titled “Sound Beginnings” which is available through  “Our Father’s House”.
There is a misconception that homeschooling equals four walls, isolation and piles of books. There are now several home school groups, often available through one’s local community, travel on field trips together, and gather regularly for resource exchange and interaction with other children. Traditional Learning Academy (TLA) is a private school in Coquitlam that offers families options such as these. Administrator of TLA Allan Garneau explained the differences between classic homeschooling, where the parent can choose any program they want to teach (except for treason) and distributed learning, where children follow a designed program from home. Allan stated that “ Studies have shown that they (home schooled children) not only do socialize well, they can connect with adults as well as peers” The designated learning program is becoming increasingly popular for students with special needs because of the lack of funds within public and diocesan schools. The children get the one on one time that is so important during their early formative years.

 As Catholic parents we are the originators of the homeschooling movement The Church’s Magisterium has always taught, “Parents are the principle and first educators of their children.” CCC#1653

Garneau finished with “ It turns children onto learning and equips them with skills in independent study.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Catholic Home Schooling Event

Attended a Catholic home schooling event at Holy Family Parish in Vancouver BC.

Julia Fogassy has been a home educator for 25 years and as a mother of nine children ranging in ages 15 to 38 she has a lot of experience.

This was a great opportunity to meet and discuss with other homeschooling parents the benefits of educating your children at home.

The administrator of Traditional Learning Academy, Alan Garneau was there as well and gave a presentation describing the differences between homeschooling and distributed learning.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Altar Consecration Photos

Lamentabili sane

One of the greatest treasures of the Church is the 19 centuries of teaching that is available to us. You don't have to dig to deep to realize why there is so much confusion these days.

Among the sixty-five errors of the modernists condemned by Pope St. Pius X (Lamentabili sane) July 3, 1907:

The organic institution of the Church is not immutable. Like human society, Christian society is subject to perpetual evolution.
“54. Dogmas, Sacraments, and hierarchy, both their notion and reality, are only interpretations and evolutions of the Christian intelligence which have increased and perfected by an external series of additions the little germ latent in the Gospel.

“58. Truth is no more immutable than man himself, since it evolved with him, in him, and through him.

“59. Christ did not teach a determined body of doctrine applicable to all times and all men, but rather inaugurated a religious movement adapted or to be adapted to different times and places.

“64. Scientific progress demands that the concepts of Christian doctrine concerning God, creation, revelation, the Person of the Incarnate Word, and Redemption be readjusted.”

By holding any of these five propositions, one is automatically excluded from the Catholic Church.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Altar Consecration

Here is an article I wrote for the BC Catholic. Pictures to follow.

Jesus Christ, the chief corner stone (Eph 2:20)

On Tuesday Dec. 28 2010, His Grace Archbishop J. Michael Miller consecrated the New Altar and Altar Stone at Holy Family Parish in Vancouver. A traditional Altar consecration had not been done in the Archdiocese in over three decades. In 2008 His Grace Archbishop Raymond Roussin established Holy Family as a personal Parish dedicated to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Since then pastor Fr. Deprey with assistant pastor Fr. Geddes as well as the parishners of Holy Family have worked tirelessly to renovate the Church for the glory of God. The newest addition to the sanctuary is the High Altar. A High Altar is venerated because it is the place of sacrifice and the dwelling place of Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle. The consecration of an Altar Stone is a pivotal moment in a Church’s history. It is the foundation for the sacrifice of the Mass, the High Altar is where heaven and earth meet, and time and space are crossed. It is where we receive the body, blood and divinity of our Lord.

At one time most Altars were made of stone, nowadays many are made of wood with a smaller stone interred in it. Before the consecration the priests at Holy Family were using a Greek corporal with relics sewn into it. The altar stone itself symbolizes Christ as the unmovable truth, which is the foundation of our Catholic Faith. Using a stone to symbolize the truth is used throughout the Bible.

“ Therefore thus saith the Lord God: Behold I will lay a stone in the foundations of Sion, a tried stone, a corner stone, a precious stone, founded in the foundation. He that believeth let him not hasten.” (Isaiah 28:16)

The Apostle Peter echoes this verse in his first epistle

“ Wherefore it is said in the scripture: Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious. And he that shall believe in him, shall not be confounded.” (1 Peter 2:6)

The stone that is used at Holy Family is engraved with five crosses to represent the five wounds of Our Lord. There is a cavity carved into the stone for the entombment of sacred relics. Placing relics of Saints within the Altar goes back centuries when Christians had to celebrate the sacrifice of the Mass in the catacombs. There, the martyrs who had died for their faith in Jesus Christ surrounded the faithful during the Mass. Holy Family Parish has been blessed with the relics of St. Stephen Protomartyr and St. Sebastian Martyr.

After the procession the Archbishop places the relics with three grains of incense into the sepulcher (cavity). The Archbishop then blesses the Gregorian water, which is composed of holy water, wine, salt and ashes. (The name Gregorian water comes from Pope Gregory I who prescribed its use for consecrations.) The relics of the Saints are mixed with a cement powder and are sealed into the sepulcher of the altar. The Stone is then anointed with Sacred Chrism on all crosses and then the Bishop incenses the Altar. Upon the five crosses on the stone the Bishop forms crosses out of grains of incense and places a small wax cross on top of each one. Following this, Acolytes light the wax crosses on the altar symbolizing the fire of the Holy Spirit that fuels us to love and worship God, as the Bishop intones:

“ Veni Sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium: et tui amoris in eis ignem accende”

Translated to English means: “ Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love”