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The Seven Last Words of Christ

Devotion to the Seven Last Words, the seven last phrases Jesus uttered from the cross, can be traced at least to the twelfth century. St. Bonaventure made a commentary on them, the Franciscans helped spread their popularity, and soon promises of salvation were made to those who meditated on the Words. This devotion can appear a heavy, gloomy spirituality, dwelling on suffering and sin. And yet as Fr. Thomas Rosica points out in this small book of reflections there is much more here. These words – seven – the number of perfection – stand in relief against the silence of death.

The Cross is the pivotal point of our faith, the bridge between death and resurrection. The three hours Jesus spent on the Cross are sometimes marked by Christians in a Tre Ore liturgy. Fr. Rosica sets the scene for his reflections with Pope Francis’ powerful prayer at the conclusion of the Stations of the Cross in 2016. Here we see the Cross of Christ echoed in contemporary examples of evil and violence but also in the faithful response of those who love and serve, heroic and hidden.

Throughout the seven reflections Fr. Rosica reveals Jesus as the perfect model of forgiveness, reconciliation, and peace. Even at this time of maximum agony, isolation, and disgrace he shows us how we can live. Using imagination, theological insight, and direct language Fr. Rosica, known to many of us through his work with Salt + Light, and recently in Calgary for Bishop McGrattan’s Installation rite, draws out the life-giving nature of the Words. For example, while I don’t suppose you are meant to have a “favourite” among the Last Words, in the light of these reflections mine is the third word. The scene at the foot of the cross that depicts the “small seed group” of the communion of the saints. In some ways, it is “the first real communion of holy people gathered around holy things,” in Christian understanding at least, and a foreshadowing of a Messianic people too numerous to count.

How can we look on such horror, let alone meditate on it? Don’t we see enough – on the news, in our own experience? The anguish of abandonment heard in the Fourth Word is but the beginning of Psalm 22 that in the end resounds with praise reverberating through time and encompassing the world. Suffering is not the end; because of Jesus’ death we experience resurrection with him.

Fr. Rosica makes the connection between Gospel revelation of Jesus’ passion and our lives today it a way that makes the traditional meditations of the Tre Ore service fruitful for all Christians young and old. Using anecdotes about Mother Teresa, and even a quotation from author Toni Morrison, these reflections explore the idea that our example can be, echoing Jesus, a point of embarkation or a foundation for others in their own journey to God. If we wish to be able to pray like our master Jesus at our own deaths then as Fr. Rosica says, we had better start praying these words now and “liv[ing] our way into that loving surrender of our lives to God.”

1 Forgiveness Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing Luke 23:33-34
2 Salvation Today, you will be with me in Paradise Luke 23:39-43
3 Relationship Woman, here is your son… Here is your mother John 19:25-27
4 Abandonment My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Matthew 27:45-46
5 Distress I am thirsty John 19:28
6 Triumph It is finished John 19: 29-30
7 Reunion Father, into your hands I commend my spirit Luke 23:44-46
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Parish Bulletin Insert

One Rock

Please join the One Rock Team at the Catholic Pastoral Centre 120 17th Ave. SW for a Wine & Cheese event on Wednesday April 26, from 5:30 – 7:30 pm to meet Bishop McGrattan and to hear him speak.  Learn more about this year’s One Rock Festival, and how you can support, and be a part of this year’s Festival of Faith.  For more information and to register please call 403-218-5516 or email Mary Ann Donaleshen maryann.donaleshen@calgarydiocese.ca

Development & Peace: GENERAL & Youth Assembly and Retreat

April 28-30, join us for the 2017 Development & Peace Retreat and Assembly at the FCJ Centre, 219, 19 Avenue SW, Calgary. Bishop McGrattan will give the opening address. Other speakers include Dr. Peter Baltutis, St. Mary's University, Lance Dixon, CCSD and Stacey Schaub-Szabo, Principal of S-Cubed Environmental, and an ambassador for the Alberta Emerald Awards. This year, Alberta's first Youth Regional Assembly will run in parallel to the general assembly. Young adults will learn more about, and become involved with, social justice and global citizenry. The youth assembly will explore specific topics including ecological justice and small-scale farming with guest speakers, Dr. Randy Heluza-Delay and Jerremie Clyde. See the Eventbrite link for more information including the event schedule: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/youth-regional-assembly-and-retreat-2017-tickets-32338317779 or call Marilou at 403-218-5519 to register.

An Evening of Prayer for Vocations

On Sunday May 7, 2017 there will be an evening of prayer for vocations held at Sacred Heart Church in Calgary (1307 14 Street SW). Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will begin at 7:30 pm. A small reception will be held after the service. For more information, please contact Fr. Colin O’Rourke at the Vocations Office: 403-245-2753.

Diocesan Palliative Care Education Program

The Spring 2017 Diocesan Palliative Care Education Program Part 1 and Part 2 will take place at St. Bonaventure Parish, 1600 Acadia Drive SE, on April 28 & 29, and May 5 & 6, 2017. The Program is on the two Friday evenings and all day both Saturdays. Registration fee: $50. More info or to register, please call 403-218-5501, Email: healthcareprograms@calgarydiocese.ca, or online at www.calgarydiocese.ca.

Diocesan Pastoral Care Course

The Spring 2017 Diocesan Pastoral Care Training Program will begin on Thursday May 4, 2017 and run for 7 consecutive Thursday evenings from 6:30pm - 9:30pm until June 15, 2017. The program will be held at St. Bernadette's Parish, 7103 - 20A St. SE. This course will introduce you to the basic visiting skills required for Pastoral Care Ministry in the health care facilities or parish. Registration fee: $50. For more information and to register, call: 403-218-5501, Email: alicia.zubot@calgarydiocese.ca, or online at www.calgarydiocese.ca.

Effective Co-Parenting

Putting Kids First

An educational 5-week program for separated and divorced parents to help raise their children through this difficult time and increase the understanding of needs of children for developing self- esteem and security. It will offer skills about managing diverse shared parenting situations and provide strategies for improving communication, resolving conflict, and managing day to day children’s issues between parenting partners. Parents are encouraged to attend separately. Next program is 7:00pm - 9:00pm on Wednesdays, May 3-31. For more info or registration call the Life & Family Resource Centre at 403-218-5505 or email lifeandfamily@calgarydiocese.ca.

Faith Enrichment for Seniors

The Faith enrichment for Seniors group will be held on Mondays April 24, May 1, 8, & 15, 2017 at St. Joseph’s Parish from 1:00 pm to 3:00pm. No registration is necessary and all are welcome. For further information contact Norline at 403-218-5503 or e-mail norline.johnson@calgarydiocese.ca

Marriage Preparation

"For Better & For Ever"

“For Better & For Ever…” Marriage Preparation, accepts all couples preparing for marriage. Due to the small group setting it allows us to focus on couples in one or more of the following circumstances: living together, previously married, beginning marriage with children, couples 45+, or those who wish to have their marriage blessed in the Church. Upcoming Dates: April 10/28-29, May 15/June 9-10, June 5/23-24. For more dates, registration or information, contact 403-218-5505 or email lifeandfamily@calgarydiocese.ca.

Project Rachel Post Abortion Counselling

The ministry offers a journey of healing and reconciliation for women and men who are suffering distress from a past abortion experience. Clients will be referred to a professional counselor who specializes in dealing with the trauma associated with this experience. For more information call Project Rachel at 403-218-5506 or toll free at 1-877-597-3223. You may also e-mail info@projectrachelsa.ca

Feed the Hungry Cook Team

You and your friends can start a Feed the Hungry cook team! Do you have past experience cooking such as INN from the Cold? As part of our recruitment strategy, we will be holding a food safety training course on May 6th 2017 at the Catholic Pastoral Centre. Cook teams have one lead and approximately three to four other volunteers. They are ideally scheduled one Sunday every six weeks. If you are interested, please contact, Sartre Jean-Gilles at feedthehungry@calgarydiocese.ca or 403-218-5532.

The New Evangelizaton Summit: Inspiring Catholics

Live in Ottawa and webcast to host sites across North America! Streaming to Calgary, May 12-13 at Notre Dame High School, 11900 Country Village Link NE, Calgary. For more information please contact eden.dsouza@calgarydiocese.ca or call 403-218-5520. To purchase tickets visit: newevangelization.ca

The 2017 One Million Rosaries for Unborn Babies

On May 5-7, everyone is invited to take part in a multinational pro-life prayer event. Participants are asked to pray at least one Rosary for an end to abortion.

Hike for Life

The 37th Hike for Life will be held on Saturday, May 13, from 8:30 am – noon at Prince’s Island Park. Come have fun with your friends and family. Enjoy free refreshments and support Respect Life Educational Programs. For more information contact Calgary Pro-Life Association at 403-243-0691 or https://www.calgaryprolife.com/

Catholic Speed Dating Event

Are you looking for a good Catholic man or woman? Visit www.CatholicSpeedDating.ca or call Rose 587-333-1099 for more info and to REGISTER for our upcoming event. Friday, May 5th at St. Paul's Church in Airdrie (Age Range: Women: 33 to 41 & Men: 36 to 44) and (Women and Men age 45+).

The Creghton Model FertilityCare (CrMS)

The Creighton Model FertilityCare System Practitioner education program will be held in Calgary with Phase I in April 2017 and Phase II in October 2017. This allied health profession teaches women to monitor and maintain their gynecologic and reproductive health. The CrMS is the first standardized system of the menstrual and fertility cycle biomarkers, which strongly links and networks the ability to achieve or avoid pregnancy successfully. Post-secondary program completion is a pre-requisite to train as a FertilityCare Practitioner. For more information on applying and tuition costs, please contact the FertilityCare Center of Calgary at 403-473-1522 or fertilitycare@shaw.ca

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Spiritual Reading with Purpose

When was the last time you picked up some spiritual reading? I mean picked up a book? Do we still have the luxury of time for deep, thoughtful reading? And is there still a place for physical books when we spend so much of our time online? The Church has a clear idea about what spiritual reading is. Distinct in its subject matter and purpose, it is a seeking out of wisdom from trusted spiritual ancestors. Confined to the following sources we read with the purpose of growing in holiness:

  • Scriptures
  • Teachings of the Church
  • History of the Church
  • Lives and thoughts of saintly people
  • Reflections on any of the above

Is holiness unfashionable now? We are required to seek it, and the practice of spiritual reading is a proven method for absorbing spiritual advice from the greatest practitioners of our faith. Here is what we are striving for: “When I read holy books then the spirit and body are illumined and I become the temple of God and the harp of the Holy Spirit, played by divine powers through them I am corrected and through them I receive a kind of divine change and I am made into a different person” [St. Gregory the Theologian]. As St. Ambrose says of God, “we address him when we pray; we hear him when we read.”

The Catholic Pastoral Centre Library contains many treasures for spiritual reading. To engage with such books gladdens the heart and strengthens our faith. As part of the Catholic Pastoral Centre Open House on September 13, you have an opportunity to find some new guides among the books we will be offering at our Feed Your Faith Book Sale. The Library has downsized a little, although we are still very much in business with a strong and current collection of books, magazines and DVDs. We can now make available, for a small donation, many great books that are either duplicates or perhaps not best fitted for our collection. These include historical items and one or two from previous bishops’ collections. There are treasures to suit all tastes. Come and browse the tables and for a donation to our Feed the Hungry program feed your faith, or the spiritual life of a friend or family member!

Has “spiritual reading” become an old fashioned luxury without merit in the modern world? No, it is a requirement for us to seek God in whatever way we can. We need the strength and inspiration available to us through past and present spiritual masters through the written word.

And can we find these resources digitally? The Internet has enabled the spread of wonderful spiritual literature and that is to be praised. But is there a downside to the flickering digital screen. The sheer physicality of a book helps us remember and absorb the text from the geography of the page. Studies suggest that we learn better from a printed page and that reading is easier on the eye. We can pass on books and share them more easily, and digest their lessons best. They can become life companions.

Drop by for the Book Sale and Open House at the Catholic Pastoral Centre on September 13!

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Suffering and Salvation in Ciudad Juarez

Book Review: Suffering + Salvation in Ciudad Juarez by Nancy Pineda-Madrid.

This book's starting point is stark and unusual for a library like ours. For the past 20 years or so there has a campaign of terror against poor women in the city of Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, just across the border from El Paso in Texas. The number of murdered and missing women runs into the thousands, bringing untold suffering to families, friends, and the whole society. How does a community cope with such individual and social suffering? And how can the often deeply Catholic families make sense of these events? How do they, and we, understand salvation in the light of this brutality?  

This work examines local devotional practices that form part of the response on behalf of those affected and it looks at it in the light of the theology of St Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109). Anselm's work, Cor Deus Homo (Why God became Man), has been especially influential in forming the Christian view of salvation. Anselm theorized that God became a human and died to pay back what was due to the honour of God offended by sin. In reading Anselm in the light of the events in Ciudad Juarez the author argues that there is a need to reassess what salvation means; to look again at theological ideas that have long shaped our current views.

As the author states of the situation in Ciudad Juarez, 'this experience encourages us to realize that only some form of communion, or community, can possibly save us. It is a particular form of community that furthers salvation in history. And the church at its best, that is the church actively discerning the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, mediates the birth of this new community.' 

This is a challenging and thoughtful read, academic in tone, but infused with the urgency. 

To borrow the book from the CPC Library, email library@calgarydiocese.ca

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Believing in the Resurrection

Believing in the Resurrection: the Meaning and Promise of the Risen Jesus by Gerald O'Collins (New York: Paulist Press, 2012).

~ a mini-review.

Library reference: 232.5 OCO B4 

altWhen we state that we believe in the resurrection what do we mean? And what are the implications of this belief? Fr. Gerald O'Collins, SJ is a leading scholar in the area of resurrection studies. Through a close reading of the key Biblical texts he guides us into an understanding of how the resurrection informs the sacramental and moral theology of the Church, and can and should completely change our lives.

To borrow this book from the Library at the Catholic Pastoral Centre please email: library@calgarydiocese.ca or call 403-218-5510.If you would like to see what else we have browse our online catalogue at Koha Library.. You do not need a membership to search the catalogue - just use the search bar at the top of the web page.

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