By Fr David Purcell, C.Ss.R.
Catholics love summer festivals, pilgrimages, and camps! Please watch for these events in your area. They are great opportunities for us to promote the Redemptorist and Redemptoristine way of life. On May 13th, I was astounded to see the whole hill at the Canadian Martyrs’ Shrine near Midland, Ontario covered with booths, cars, vans, picnic tables – and hundreds – dare we say a thousand people?! We prayed and danced and sang together. There were guest speakers who helped us deepen our understanding of our faith. Here in the picture at the right you see a youth group gathered to ponder how we can keep our Catholic faith alive in us.
Bishop Vincent Hieu Nguyen, an Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto presided at our closing Marian procession and at the celebration of our Eucharist. Children of all ages brought a lot of colour to our celebrations.
As you know, over a million people a year pass through the Basilica of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré. Redemptorists and Redemptoristines have served here for over a hundred years. Therefore, we have an opportunity to freely talk about our mission, set up displays, and hand out invitations to vocation activities. Here we meet people from all over the world. Therefore, we have the opportunity to promote the Redemptorist mission to many different places without having to travel! This year added another dimension to my experience at Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré. Three young men accompanied me to live and work at the shrine for a whole month. Among other things, we led a devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help with groups of English pilgrims. As you can also see in the accompanying pictures, Fr. Bill Comerford came to provide pastoral help during the Novena to St. Anne, and Fr. Rich Luberti visited us on his way through to St. John’s, Newfoundland.