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Back to Work

Last updated on November 6, 2012

It’s been exactly two weeks since we returned from the Pilgrimage to Rome and the Canonization of now Saint Kateri Tekakwitha and I’m still in recovery mode. It’s been busy covering events for the Prairie Messenger and the Archdiocesan web site. The events I cover always show up on the Archdiocesan Web Site news section so you can keep in touch with what’s happening around the Archdiocese. I can’t get to everything of course, but I do get to most of the big stuff. Check the Archbishop’s calendar and the Archdiocesan calendar to know what’s happening. And a reminder; whatever is happening in your neck of the woods, put it on the calendar or let Bobbi Yanko, our Director of Communications know and she’ll put it on for you. USE THE SITE! It’s a great source of archdiocesan activities but only if you put your activities on the calendar.

This is a busy week. Monday, I had my first meeting of the Regina Catholic School Board Trustees to which I was elected October 24, Wednesday I...

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Day Seven: The Last Day

Last updated on October 22, 2012

Monday , October 22, all that is scheduled today is the Thanksgiving Mass at St. John Lateran Church, the same church in which as held the prayer vigil on Saturday evening. The principle celebrant was the Most Reverend Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Con-celebrants included all the Canadian priests, bishops and Archbishops who were in attendance for the Canonization of now Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, including Archbishops Bohan, and Winnipeg Archbishop James Weisgerber, our tour director Reverend Ralph Kleiter, Saskatoon and Reverend  Donilo Rafael, Regina.

I expected the mass to be something of an anticlimax to this journey but it was more than that. St. John Lateran had more in attendance than Saturday’s prayer vigil, all or mostly Canadian. Visitors and tourists roamed the side aisles without disturbing the service and the music was provided by the choir of St. Peter’s Basilica. It was magnificent. The music...

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Day Five: St. Peter's Basilica

Last updated on October 22, 2012

WOW! There have been several WOW days since we began this journey six days ago, but today, Saturday, October 20, 2012, was a special WOW day. We had mass in a chapel next to the Tomb of St. Peter!

We were up early and left the hotel at 07:00 to get to St. Peter’s Basilica in time to be in this chapel for the mass at 08:00. St. Peter’s Piazza at that hour of the morning is not exactly empty but the people could be counted perhaps in the hundreds rather the thousands. As we walked from the bus in the pre dawn light, Archbishop Bohan pointed to lights in a couple of upper windows to the right of the Basilica and said, “look, the Pope is up.” That was kind of a ‘how about that’ moment to look at those windows and know the man who heads the Roman Catholic Church around the world is up too.

We proceeded through a security screening device and into St. Peter’s Basilica. That, too, is a WOW moment. This largest church in the world, containing works of some of the greatest...

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The Canonization

Last updated on October 22, 2012

World Mission Sunday and the Canonization of seven new saints, Blessed Kateri among them. A crush of people trying to squeeze through a narrow security opening almost became dangerous. Some were literally lifted off their feet as the crowd surged toward the gate.  Near us some people were pushed on top of a woman in a wheel chair, causing her considerable discomfort.  For anyone with a ticket, as we had, this crush was completely inexcusable.  St. Peter’s Piazza, completely packed, holds at least one, and perhaps, two hundred thousand people. We had tickets and were seated but outside the seated area crowds were thick back to the walls of the piazza and down the entrance to the piazza.

We arrived early about 07:00 for the service which began at 09:30 but not early enough. The crowds were thick and already pushing to get into the seated areas. The sun was out, St. Peter’s Basilica looked beautiful in the morning light and people from all over the world, many dressed in...

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Day Four: More on our trip to Assisi

Last updated on October 22, 2012

I said yesterday it was a long bus ride, and it was, but interrupted with a pit stop in some little unnamed community with a small confectionary and many bathrooms. It was obviously set up to provide services to people on their way to Assisi. More on the young “Miracle” boy we serendipitously met while at the stop. I don’t know how we found out he was on board the Seattle Diocese bus but when we did many from our bus had photos taken with the boy, his parents and grandparents. I spoke with Father Jim Sauer who, at the time Jake Finkbonner became afflicted with Flesh Eating disease, was pastor to three parishes on the Indian Reserve (they still call them that in the U.S.A) to which the Finkbonners belonged.  Father Sauer told me, “The people on that reserve have a particular devotion to Blessed Kateri and when I heard what happened to Jake, I asked all three parishes to pray to Blessed Kateri on behalf of the boy.”  The boy is now 11 and has undergone numerous surgeries to repair...

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Day Four: Trip to Assisi

Last updated on October 19, 2012

Spent the day in Assisi, a three hour bus ride from Rome. Fog most of the way so didn't see much of the country side. Fog cleard while we were inside and had good views of the outside of the basilica and the countryside below. Assisi is built on a hill. Visited St. Francis basilica where Archbishop Bohan, Fathers, Keiter, Danolo and Wojciech con-celebrated mass. Then over to St. Clare on the other side of Assisi. Very impressive place. I'll add more tomorrow when I believe the schedule will give me more time.

At a pit stop on the way to Assisi, we met a group from Seattle and discovered Jake Finkbonner was among them. He is the boy whose parents and community prayed to Blessed Kateri when he contracted Flesh Eating Disease after a basketball accident. He was not expected to live, had the last sacraments administered and was ready to die. He didn't. Medical people had no explanation and the Vatican declared it a miracle and it was that miracle...

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Day Three: Pilgrimage To Rome - The Coliseum

Last updated on October 19, 2012

A fast train ride, and I mean a fast train ride, to Rome. The train hit 300 kms an hour several times and made the almost 500 kms trip to Rome in 3.5 hours. We were supposed to admire the scenery while travelling through the Tuscany area but what we saw mostly was blur. I exaggerate. We did see some lovely villages located on hilltops, lovely vineyards and other fields, located in picturesque hills in between nodding off to catch up on some sleep. A nice surprise awaiting us in the Rome hotel lobby was Archbishop Bohan who warmly greeted everyone.

Getting on the train was a hassle. The Milan central train station is huge, I mean really huge. Think Union Station in Toronto and quadruple it at least, beautiful architecture and of course, like most other buildings, marble. Our herder, Luigi, that really is his name, does a great job of keeping us together, despite the penchant of a few to wander off. He had to leave us at the Coliseum and retrieve his family who were arriving...

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He’s 97 years old and had to sit in a chair but as he spoke he become more animated and his voice became stronger. He is Monsignor Capovilla, former secretary to Pope John XXIII and he was a surprise guest when we visited the summer home of Cardinal Angelo Roncalli who became Pope John XXIII. He resides in what is now a museum dedicated to Pope John. The visit with him was a highlight of the day as we spent the morning visiting sites where Roncalli was born, baptized and lived as a child and the afternoon in Brescia where St. Angela Merici, foundress of the Ursuline Order lived and died.

It was a long day of walking. Buses are not allowed in the city centre so we walked to our destinations.

Pope John lived in a compound owned by his father and an uncle, both sharecroppers who worked the nearby fields. It must have been a lively place because there were 10 children in one family and nine in the other. Like many other residences here, the street entrance is an archway...

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Day One: Pilgrimage To Rome

Last updated on October 17, 2012
Witnessing the canonization of Blessed Kateri Tekakawitha

Hello from Bergamo, Italy. We’re about an hour out of Milan somewhere near the boyhood home of Angelo Roncalli, better known as Pope John XXIII, who called the Catholic Bishops of the world together in 1962 for Vatican II.

Before I tell you about the trip so far, I want to describe to you the Duomo, the world’s third largest church which we saw today.  Awe inspiring is an understatement. Constructed entirely in marble it dominates Duomo square in central Milan, Italy.  Its white spires, all 135 of them along with some 3,400 statues, all carved in marble except for one, it took some 500 years to complete. The lone non-marble statue is a four meter tall gold leaf-on-steel rendering of Mary, the Mother of God to whom the cathedral is dedicated but everyone calls it the Duomo. It rises about 10 meters above anything else. Its magnificent stained glass windows are hundreds of years old; the tomb of St. Bartholomew is...

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Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha on Salt and Light.

Last updated on October 12, 2012

Father Thomas Rosica CSB reflects on the life of Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha in honour of her feast day on April 17(Canada) & July 14 (USA). Illustrations from Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. Published by Novalis, 2011. Anne E. Nueberger, Author with illustrations by Kevin Davidson. Additional images courtesy of Catholic News Service

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha: Mohawk Mystic of North America Model of the First Evangelization and New Evangelization

Bienheureuse Kateri Tekakwitha - Sainte le 21 octobre 2012

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