Blog From Rome – Foundation Day 2010

Below is a blog entry from

Andre and Angele Regnier, Scott Roy, Carol Stevenson, and Etienne DeChamplain represented CCO in Rome for the Canonization of Bro. Andre Bessette……

We were packed into San Andrea (St. Andrew the apostle) church with well over a thousand Canadians and friends of St. Andre. Cardinal Turcotte was the main presider and homilist. There were a number of things that Cardinal Turcotte said that stood out to us as we shared as a group after the mass. (We were accompanied by Canadian friend, alumni and NET Ireland Administrator, Sheila Trainor).

Cardinal Turcotte spoke of how Brother Andre, because of his intimacy with God, placed himself entirely at God’s service. He met people where they were. He met them in their situations, he listened, he recommended them in prayer to God and he pointed them to Jesus. We saw a parallel with our work. In the mission that God has give us we meet “the poor in spirit” where they are on campus. We listen to them, we recommend them in prayer to God and we point them to Jesus. Brother Andre, like us is a first-responder, on the front lines of bringing Jesus to the people, and being a first point of contact with Christ and the Church. This resonated with the second reading from the Canonization mass, where in 2 Ti 3, Paul tells Timothy essentially to continue doing what you have learned. We are to be holy in the exact vocation, situation, environment and calling the Lord has placed us in. For Brother Andre it was his ministry of prayer and healing with St. Joseph at the Oratory, for us it is go on to the university campuses and clearly proclaim Jesus, and to build these people up so that they too can be missionary.

Cardinal Turcotte also said a beautiful thing about St. Andre. He said something like “Brother Andre was completely attentive to God and that is why the Lord fixed his attention on him.” In other words, Brother Andre practiced what we call in CCO, “prophetic listening” which is to be attentive and always listening to what the Holy Spirit is saying, and then to be prepared to act on that sense if he calls us to.

Cardinal Turcotte also affirmed the call we all have to be Saints, that through Brother Andre we are shown that it is possible, to keep going. He said, “I believe here in this church right now, we are in the presence of the future canonized”. Wow this is the kind of inspiration the Church in Canada needs to hear.

Another great reflection was when he mentioned how St. Andre said that when his trials were greatest, is when his work was most successful. This also resonated with themes from our Staff training from last year on the “hidden life” and the paschal mystery in our life as missionaries.

The prayer (Preface of the Saints) from the mass just before the Eucharistic Prayers tied into themes from the first days with the Saints, especially St Ignatius, St. Francis Xavier, St. Joseph, and Blessed Pier Giorgio, We felt they were our dear, close friends and that we shared their heart. They are examples to us, they strengthen us in our battle and mission through their prayers (like Aaron and Hur who held up Moses’ arms from the first reading at the Canonization mass). As you can imagine, it was astonishing to see the prayer written in this particular way, in light of our experiences:

You are glorified in your saints, for their glory in the crowning of your gifts. In their lives on earth you give us an example. In our communion with them, you give us their friendship. In their prayer for the Church you give us strength and protection. This great company of witnesses spurs us on to victory, to share their prize of everlasting glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We were affirmed in all of this to just keep doing what you are doing.

We pilgrimaged to the catacombs where six early popes from the 2nd and 3rd century were buried. Indeed we were standing on the shoulders of giants in this holy place. Not far away we reflected on St. Peter and the Lord at “Domine Quo Vadis” church. St Peter was on his way to safety fleeing from Rome, when the Lord appeared to him on that very road. After this encounter Peter returned to Rome and was crucified as the Lord foretold. Interestingly enough our plan was to go to St. Peter’s directly afterwards. As we stood at the obelisk, we were reminded that this monument was probably one of the last things St. Peter ever saw as he died on his cross upside down on Vatican Hill. This offered a profound challenge for us as missionaries to do what the Lord is telling us to do, not in a spirit of fear but with power, love and self-control. Happy Foundation Day CCO!

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