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
Related Offices Archives Carillon Library
Related Themes Lent

Parish Bulletin Insert

Indulgences for the 100th Anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima

By decree of the Bishop of Calgary and in honour of the Centennial Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima, the faithful who visit Our Lady of Fatima Church in Calgary and who “devotedly pray before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, invoking (her) intercession... from May 13th 2017 to Dec. 31st, 2017” will receive a partial indulgence provided that they are “baptized, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace at least at the end of the prescribed works” (Code of Canon Law 996 §1). Our Lady of Fatima Church is open to the public from May 13th on every Tuesday 3:00 to 8pm, Wed. 1:00-8:00pm, Friday 3pm to 8pm, Saturday 10am to 6pm, and Sunday 8am to 2pm for those desiring to obtain the above partial indulgence or simply to pray. By decree of Pope Francis a plenary indulgence is also available to the faithful who meet the ordinary conditions (go to Confession and Communion, be interiorly detached from sin and in a state of grace, and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father) and “who visit with devotion an image of Our Lady of Fatima solemnly displayed for public veneration in any temple, oratory or adequate place, during the days of the anniversary of the apparitions (the 13th of each month from May to October 2017), and devotedly participate there in any celebration or prayer in honour of the Virgin Mary, pray the Our Father recite the symbol of faith (Creed) and invoke Our Lady of Fatima”, (Jubilee Year of Fatima, Concession of Plenary Indulgence). The Church of Our Lady of Fatima will hold a mass and rosary every 13th day of each month at 6:30pm. After the Mass and rosary, the chapel will be open for those desiring to further fulfill the conditions of the plenary indulgence.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1471 : An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.
An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin. Indulgences may be applied to the living or the dead.


The One Rock Festival is happening August 11-13, 2017. Early bird pricing is on now till June 15th. Make sure you get a ticket while the promotion lasts.
Get tickets and more information at:

Love at Last Breath: Companioning at End of Life

This course approaches the issue of visiting with residents/patients who are dying and their family members in a caring, compassionate manner. The seminar is Friday, May 26, 2017, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm and Saturday, May 27 2017, 8:30 am – 3:00 pm at First Mennonite Church, 2600 Richmond Rd SW, Calgary, AB. The event is open to everyone, and especially those who provide pastoral care in congregations, hospitals, care facilities, hospice and other contexts of ministry. For more information, to register, or to become a member of the Christian Pastoral Caregivers Association, go to or call Karen at 403-253-7946.

Diocesan Bereavement Care Education Program

The Diocesan Bereavement Care Education program will teach you the skills to offer your presence and support to the bereaved in a caring way. The program will be held on Friday June 9th, 2017 from 6:00-9:30 pm & Saturday June 10th, 2017 from 9:00am-4:00pm at St. Patrick's Parish in Medicine Hat, AB. For more information and to register contact Kathleen at 403-527-9591 or the parish office 403-527-6933.

Love & Life Gala – Natural Family Planning (NFP) ministry

The Love & Life Gala is a celebration of NFP ministry that will be held at St. Peter's Catholic Church, 541 Silvergrove Drive NW, Calgary. Mass begins at 5:00 pm, June 10. Guests will be treated to a dinner, testimonials, and live music provided by The Spokeshaves. There will be a toonie bar and silent auction. All proceeds raised will support NFP ministry. Event is hosted by NFP Alberta, Marquette Model, Billings Method with support from FertilityCare™. Tickets are available at

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: June 5/23-24. For more dates, registration or information, contact 403-218-5505 or email:

Bring the beauty of creation to Columbus Place

Columbus Place is a Bishop O'Byrne Senior's Housing complex located in NE Calgary. We provide affordable housing for people with addiction and mental health challenges and also people who have successfully exited homelessness. We would appreciate any donations of gently used garden tools or annuals so we can bring beauty and build peace in our community together. Contact Marilou at 403-218-5519 for further information.


Join us in recognizing the lives of all migrants and the many committed people who help them, with a celebration of the Eucharist. All are encouraged to come in their national dress. Mass with Bishop William McGrattan will be held on Thursday, June 29, 2017 at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Calgary (219 18 Ave. SW) at 7 pm. Reception to follow.

27th Annual Bishop's Golf Tournament

SAVE THE DATE: August 14, 2017 – 27th Annual Bishop’s Golf Tournament in support of Feed the Hungry at Silvertip Resort, Canmore. Coming Soon - Registration, sponsorship information at or contact You don’t want to miss it!

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

Catholic Speed Dating Event

Are you looking for a good Catholic man or woman? Register for the year end retreat event which will be held on Saturday, June 17th, 11:00 am - 5:30 pm at Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre in Cochrane. Age Range: (Women: 24 to 32 & Men: 27 to 35) -&- (Women: 33 to 41 & Men: 36 to 44). Events include Mass, lunch, talks, mix and mingle speed-dating and evening prayer. Visit or call Rose at 587-333-1099 to register today!

For more information about this publication email or contact Jane-Rose Ediau or Carol Hollywood, Library & Archives, 403-218-5510; Fax: 403-264-0526 Address: Catholic Pastoral Centre, 120 - 17 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB, T2S

Related Offices Social Media & Website
Related Themes Newsletter

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!

Related Offices Carillon Library
Related Themes Books Suggestion Catholic Faith Resources Theological Reflection

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

Related Offices Social Justice Library
Related Themes Social Justice Christian Life Suffering

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: 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.

Related Offices Library
Related Themes Easter Resources
Items 1 - 5 of 6  12Next

Article Filters

Associated Office:
Associated Program:
Associated Theme:

Looking for a Parish or Mass and Reconciliation Times?

Search the Parish Finder