By Fr. David Purcell, C.Ss.R.
Grace and peace abound, for those who make the pilgrimage to Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré for her novena and the feast day on the 26th of July. I invite vocation inquirers to come and work side by side with Redemptorists at this time of year. These men lead prayers, give short testimonies, do some manual labour, experience common prayer and meals in a community, and meet Redemptorists and pilgrims from around the world. This year we worked alongside Fr. Douglas James who deepened our understanding of the times, symbols, and language of Jesus, and of his disciples. Fr. Douglas is from a diocese in Sri Lanka. We also were blessed to meet **four Redemptorists from Burkina Fasso; and a diocesan priest from Burkina Fasso.
Of course it was not all work. Here we are enjoying ice cream at the end of the evening candlelight procession. From left to right are: Nick (inquirer from Nova Scotia) Fr. Emmanuel**, Ben (Redemptorist candidate), Fr. Douglas (English novena), Fr. Pascal**, Fr. Norbert** (standing), Fr Aimé**, Fr. Maurice (diocesan priest). Each evening as we relaxed after a long day, and often at morning prayer, our confreres from Burkina Fasso treated us to some wonderful songs and great drumming! You can catch a sample of their music on this link as they were part of a brilliant and moving multi-cultural opening ceremony. (Opening of the feast – July 25, 2019 – 4:00 pm; at the 53:45 mark.)
Yes, just in case you missed it – Ben was recently accepted as a Redemptorist candidate and will join our student program in Toronto this coming fall. Please keep him in your prayers as he makes this transition.
We also met Gérald C. Lacroix. He weaves humour and stories into his preaching and is renowned for his preaching. The team at the Basilica facilitated each evening, a liturgy of the Word in French, with lots of singing, the preaching of the Cardinal, and also testimonies from a variety of lay people and clergy. He is also an exemplary bishop, and known to be a very good pastor. It was also good to meet Cardinal Lacroix, the person – seen here at the breakfast table. He shared with us a about his family, and asked us for prayers for his sister who is receiving treatment for cancer. He told us how his father, after seeing the Pope on television who was bracing against the cold, then knit a white, wool scarf for the Holy Father. Yes, if you see Pope Francis wearing a white, thick, hand-knit scarf, it came from the hands of Cardinal Lacroix’s father.
I am heartened by the men who are taking an interest in our community from across Canada. For example, Nick is from Nova Scotia. Please remember to invite men to inquire about the Redemptorists. Please ask them to consider joining us for a few days or a few weeks, next summer, at Le Sanctuaire de Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré!