Most Reverend Christian Lépine has appointed Fr. Raymond Lafontaine Episcopal Vicar for the English-speaking faithful and Director of the Office for English Pastoral Services (O.E.P.S.). Fr. Raymond Lafontaine, M.A., S.T.L., D.Th. Fr. Raymond is a priest of the Archdiocese of Montreal, serving as Pastor of St. Monica’s Parish in N.D.G. After undergraduate studies at McGill in Mathematics, and a brief career as an actuary, he entered St. Paul’s University Seminary in Ottawa in 1986, where he received his B.Th. and his M.A. (Christian Ethics) degrees summa cum laude.
This week, many of us attended the keynote conference at the Archdiocesan Parish Vitality Conference: “Set the World Ablaze!” Deacon Keith Strohm, author of the book Becoming a Parish of Intentional Disciples, invited us to embrace as individuals the challenge of naming, claiming, and sharing the gifts God has given uniquely to each of us, and as parish communities to identify and call forth the gifts of all so that parish life is strengthened and the work of evangelization and ministry to those around us is enriched. By now, most of us are familiar with the notion of “stewardship”: to receive God’s gifts gratefully, to cherish and tend them in a responsible and accountable manner, to share them in justice and love with others, and to return them with increase to the Lord.”
Hallowe’en. All Saints Day. All Souls Day. Remembrance Day. November comes upon us, and we see the signs of death in nature: falling leaves; wet, windy days; long, chilly nights. November naturally invites us to ponder our mortality, finitude, and vulnerability. Our faith takes death seriously. But it also teaches us that death is not the final answer. “Death, where is your victory?
Over the past few weeks, we have been exploring diverse ways in which we as adults are being called to growth in faith and transformation in the Holy Spirit. This week, I would like to highlight two programs that will begin here at St. Monica's this November. Both are connected to being attentive to how the Spirit is at work in our lives: our personal lives as individuals and families, and our collective life as a church community
Over the past 15 years, I have enjoyed integrating my love of movies with the challenges of the “New Evangelization”. In our yearly Video Divina film series, we have explored a wide variety of theological, spiritual and ethical themes through the medium of film: Catholic Identity, “Saints Alive!”, Heroes of Conscience, Images of Priesthood, Focusing on the Family, Jesus-Films and Christ-Figures, The Sacramental Imagination, and “Movies with a Mission!”
Transformed by the Holy Spirit: Coffee and Conversation – The Wild Goose
Fr. Raymond LafontaineOctober 12, 2016
A perennial question we ask here at St. Monica’s is: “How can we reach out more effectively to the spiritual needs of the parents and families of our Faith First children?” In response, for several years now, Anna Diodati and Monika Berintan have been animating “Coffee and Conversation”, which meets every second Sunday, between the 8:30 and 11:00 a.m. Mass. This year’s program will make use of a video series by Franciscan Father Dave Pivonka: “The Wild Goose”, an ancient Celtic title for the Holy Spirit! Let’s hear from Fr. Dave:
In this weekend’s Gospel, ten lepers experience healing from their encounter with Jesus, but only one comes back to give thanks. It is so easy to take God’s many gifts for granted! Our annual celebration of Thanksgiving is a reminder of how important it is, throughout the year, to cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” for all of God’s gifts: the gifts of creation, the produce of the earth, the fruits of human labour, and most of all, our families and friends, our neighbours both near and far, the people in whom we meet God’s image and likeness.
Catechetical Sunday: We Are Transformed by the Holy Spirit
Fr. Raymond LafontaineSeptember 21, 2016
"You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) In these words, Jesus promises the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who are open to his transforming love. This week, as we welcome back our children and their families for a new season of faith formation, we are grateful for all those witnesses who evangelize by passing on the Catholic faith to a new generation of believers.
Anniversaries are special occasions. And what a weekend this is! For we celebrate not just one, but three anniversaries of priestly ordination: for Fr. Adelchi Bertoli, on July 8, 1951, at the Duomo SS. Ermacora e Fortunato di Udine; for Fr. Gerald Westphal, right here at St. Monica’s, on September 17, 1976; and finally for myself, Fr. Raymond Lafontaine, at Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, on August 30, 1991. Combined, that makes a total of 130 years of service in the priesthood of Jesus Christ – 63 spent right here at St. Monica’s!
This year, the theme for our adult faith program is “Transformed by the Holy Spirit.” What a beautiful account of transformation we find in today’s Gospel! In the timeless story of the Parable of the Prodigal Son, we meet a Father who waits, unconditionally loving, arms outstretched, for the return of two sons who have drifted away from him: one physically, the other spiritually.