Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Returning Home: Our Destination and our Starting Point

Special thanks to friends and family who prayed us home!
We arrived in good time and in good shape Sunday evening, thankful for the blessings of our pilgrimage but eager to return to the familiar!
Having completed the Year of Faith pilgrimage, we continue the pilgrimage of life.
Our lives as Christians is made a sacred journey by the gift of faith, the divine light which guides our footsteps in this life and allows us safe passage into the next.

Bon Voyage!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Day Seven...Homeward Bound

After a solid night's sleep at the Lord Elgin Hotel in Ottawa, we got the day rolling with a 7 a.m. Mass in a conference room that was set aside for our use.  Then we enjoyed a very un-penitential breakfast before boarding the bus to begin the journey home.  A couple of videos, moments of prayer and the occasional rest-stop helped pass the time. 
We are now in Sault-Ste-Marie, settling in for the night after our "official" wind-up banquet.  One thing we haven't lacked on our pilgrimage is solid nourishment, both physical and spiritual!  Tomorrow will find us on the road for most of the day.  We look forward to celebrating Mass in Nipigon before arriving back in Thunder Bay in the evening. 
Our overnight accommodations in Ottawa...

Taking on the ruff roads of life... 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Day Six... The Adventure Continues...

Today's journey was made that much more exciting due to a couple of missed turns on the free-way.  We found our way, however, to all our planned destinations, and then some!  The day began in the sanctuary of Notre-Dame-du-Cap with an early morning Mass followed by breakfast.  Then we were on the road again to visit the tomb of St. Kateri. 

We are now in Ottawa, spending some time resting, reminiscing and preparing for the next two days on the road.  Our pilgrimage has been a time a great blessing.  We have seen much and experienced even more.  As the end of the pilgrimage approaches, though, I think we will all agree that there is no place like home! 

With prayers....
     The Pilgrims

This morning's 6:30 a.m. Mass was celebrated in the
Stone Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary at Notre-Dame-du-Cap...

Hungry pilgrims take in lunch at a restaurant close to St. Francis Xavier Mission in Kahnawake, Quebec, where the tomb of St. Kateri Tekakwitha is found.

This picture needs no caption...

The Steeple of St. Francis Xavier Mission

The interior ceilings of the Mission, decorated with religious art and murals.
Vivid Stations of the Cross, with inscriptions in the Iroquois language.

An ocean freighter sales Westward through the St. Lawrence Seaway while pilgrims watch on...
The stunning interior of Notre-Dame Basilica in Ottawa.

The twin towers of Notre Dame stand on guard over the national capital.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

On the road again...Day Five!

This morning we said our farewells to the beautiful shrine of Ste. Anne de Beaupre after celebrating a morning Mass in the Basilica Crypt Chapel of the Immaculate Conception.  We then boarded the bus for a quick drive into Quebec City where we visited the Basilica of Notre Dame du Quebec.  This Basilica is the oldest continuously running parish in Canada, and possibly North America.  Its congregation, in union with the Archdiocese of Quebec, is in the midst of preparations to celebrate its 350th anniversary. 

After praying at the tomb of Blessed Francois Laval, the first bishop of "New France", we all had a few hours to spend on our own, walking through old Quebec City and taking in the most of its "old country" charm.  We regrouped at the Basilica and re-boarded the bus, this time bound for the shrine of Notre-Dame-du-Cap which is situated on the outskirts of Trois-Rivieres.

We rest here overnight and look forward to taking part in a candle-light procession through the grounds of this amazing sanctuary.

Due to technical difficulties with the blogger's camera, today's pictures include a couple of images since our arrival at Notre-Dame-du-Cap.

The main Shrine of Notre-Dame-du-Cap

The Stone Church, dedicated to Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and built in 1720.

Above the main entrance to the Sanctuary,
Holy Mary is pictured offering a welcome to the pilgrims.

A reflective pool on the sanctuary grounds.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Day Four...Our Day at Beaupre...

What a great day it was at Ste. Anne de Beaupre!  The day began in earnest with Mass in the main Basilica.  Much to his surprise, Fr. Terry was asked to be the main celebrant for the Mass!  It was an honour which will be long remembered.  Mass was followed by a tour of the basilica courtesy of one of the shrine volunteers.  We then went our separate ways in search of lunch and had free time for the remainder of the afternoon. 
Many of our group took part in an outdoor 3 o'clock Way of the Cross which was delayed slightly as a French-speaking group had arranged for the same devotion at the same time and the same place.  At the foot of the cross at the twelfth station, pilgrims place a small stone which they had carried with them from day one.  This stone represented the personal intentions each carried with them on the journey.
Around 8 p.m. we took part in a candle-light procession with the Blessed Sacrament to bring the day's program to a close.  Morning comes early, especially with Mass scheduled for our group at 7 a.m. in the Crypt Chapel of the Basilica.
As allows, here are a couple photos from the day:
Taking a stroll along one of the main streets of Ste. Anne de Beaupre

The shrine itself, dedicated to St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
and built for the greater glory of God.

Preparing to make the Way of the Cross

Statue of Our Lady in front of the chapel of the Holy Stairs, which houses a replica of the stairs which Jesus ascended before being condemned by Pontius Pilate.  Pilgrims make their way up the stairs on their knees while meditating on the Lord's Passion.
Tomorrow, we say farewell to Ste. Anne de Beaupre and make our way toward Cap-de-Madeleine by way of Quebec City.  Depending on the internet service at tomorrow's accommodations we may or may not be able to post updates.  However, we will hope for the best!
With love and prayers....
The Pilgrims.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Day Three...Shrines of Quebec

Well, folks, it's day three and we're still going strong!  We've arrived now in Ste. Anne de Beaupre where we'll be staying until Thursday morning.  Many of our group are looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.  We gather for the rosary at quarter to nine and will take part in an English Mass in the main basilica afterwards.

Today's journey included visits to the Oratory of St. Joseph in Montreal, the largest shrine to St. Joseph in the world, and the home of the tomb of St. Andre Bessette, also known as the Miracle Man of Montreal.  It was due to his great vision, faith, and devotion to St. Joseph that this shrine became a reality.

Before leaving Montreal, we drove by the Cathedral of Mary, Queen of the World, a scaled-down replica of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.  We also had the chance to visit and pray at the Basilica of Notre-Dame, a beautiful Gothic church and a monument to the faith of the people of Quebec.

Thanks again to everyone for your prayers!  Below are a few images from today...

A view of the Oratory from the Guest Centre

St. Joseph Oratory from the main entrance

Our pilgrims gather for a group photo...

Notre Dame Basilica, a view of the sanctuary...

Sustenance awaits at Ste. Anne de Beaupre...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Day Two...Shrines of Quebec Pilgrimage

This morning we said goodbye to Sudbury after a good (but short!) night's rest.  Most of the day was spent on the road, with a couple breaks en-route.  We've been blessed with great weather and good spirits. 

We are now in Montreal, overnighting at the Holiday Inn.  A few of us enjoyed an evening stroll, while others prepared to call it a night! We're looking forward to a big day tomorrow with visits scheduled for St. Joseph's Oratory and Notre Dame Basilica.  Then we're off to Ste. Anne de Beaupre!

Here's a few pictures from the course of the day:

An unidentified pilgrim contemplates taking things into her own hands...

"Anyone for musical chairs?"

Entering Quebec did involve tackling a few obstacle courses...

In search for answers, we find more questions...
Enjoying a moment of rest...
"Man cannot live on bread alone."  However, we won't complain!

Pilgrimages can have a way of changing one's whole perspective. 
Fr. Terry, deep in prayer...

After a long day on the road, it's time to sit down to a relaxing meal.
The sun sets on another day.  Good night!

Pilgrim's Progress... Day One of the Shrines of Quebec Pilgrimage

After a long day on the road, we have arrived in Sudbury, looking forward to a good night's rest!  Our day began with a candle-light send-off Mass at St. Peter's Church.  We were happy to have a number of parishioners and friends join us for this 6 a.m. Mass and to see us off! 

We made a quick stop in Nipigon to pick up the final member of our pilgrim group, and though tempted to pull over and pick blueberries, we chose instead the path of practicing detachment and forged ahead on the journey. 

Travelling the North Shore of Lake Superior didn't fail to impress with its many offerings of natural beauty.

Posing for pictures after a lunch stop in White River...

Pilgrims wait patiently for the next course to be served at our dinner stop in Sault Ste. Marie.  All the praying en-route certainly helped work up an appetite!  
After completing the longest travel day of our journey, we still had energy to smile.  So far, so good!  Thanks be to God!
To all our friends and family back home.... thank you for your thoughts and prayers!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Midsummer Movie Night...The Fatima Story

"The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima" will be shown this Friday, August 16, at 7 p.m. in our church hall. 
Attendance is free, donations are welcome, refreshments available and the church hall is wheel-chair accessible. 
This movie thoughtfully recreates the 1917 events that brought hope and new religious fervour to a war-ravaged world. 
For more information, please contact Stewart at 807-285-5419 or e-mail feedback@saintgabriels.ca

Pilgrim Watch...

Next week a group of over forty individuals from across our diocese, including Fr. Terry and six other parishioners, will journey to Quebec as part of a Year of Faith Shrines of Quebec Pilgrimage. 

The journey will bring them as far east as the shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre (pictured below), which claims the distinction of being the oldest pilgrimage site in North America.  Follow the pilgrims' progress on this blog as updates and photos are posted. 

A "send-off" Mass will be held this Sunday, August 18, at 6 a.m. just prior to the bus departure.  The pilgrimage concludes with the return home on Sunday, August 25.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Please Note... Week of no Masses

Please note that there will be no regular weekday Masses in our parish from Monday, August 19, up to and including the morning of Saturday, August 24.  Parishioners may wish to attend any of the following Masses at these nearby churches:

St. Patrick Cathedral - 9 a.m. Mass from Tuesday to Friday
St. Casimir Church - 7 p.m. on Wednesday and 9:30 a.m. on Thursday
Kitchitwa Kateri Church - 12 noon
Thank you for your understanding.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Knights and Days of Prayer

The Giant slept as lively discussion took place and informative presentations were made as part of a study day/day of prayer hosted by Knights of Columbus Council 7332 last weekend.  Topics covered included the latest encyclical, "The Light of Faith", the New Evangelization, and the Year of Faith. The Jesuit spiritual centre once again proved to be the perfect venue for this event. Out of this day came some good suggestions and positive momentum which will benefit our Council in the upcoming months.