This was a very special day. It was the first day of the new Jesuit Province of Canada. It was planned to be a two-part day, part one, in Pickering Ontario, near Toronto, and part two in Montréal. David Eley, SJ, and Pierre Bélanger, SJ, tell us the story of the day.
A story from David Eley SJ
The day began with the feast day mass celebrated by Father Erik Oland, who is becoming on this 31st of July the Provincial for all the men and the Jesuit related works in Canada. The mass began after a glorious hymn, with the reading by Fr. Peter Bisson, former Provincial, of the Decree, from Fr. General Arturo Sosa, for the establishment of the new Province and for the appointment of the new Provincial. The mass also commemorated those celebrating their anniversary jubilees, plus all the Jesuit dead during the past year. A candle was lit in their memory.
After mass, the Provincial and the new Socius, Gilles Mongeau, met our co-workers, friends and benefactors at the door of the church. Later, they left to travel down to Montreal for the part two. For the rest, we, in Pickering, had a wonderful summer picnic lunch, under the tent; we celebrated our past and looked for God’s Blessings on our future.Photos: Roei Weiss
A story from Pierre Bélanger SJ
Already an hour before the beginning of the Eucharistic for the feast of Saint Ignatius, conversations were lively in the Church of the Gesù. Jesuits from many cities in Canada, in addition to Montrealers, mixed with relatives and friends, as well as representatives of several religious congregations close to the Jesuits. The atmosphere was festive; it was also warm-hearted as the warm weather that has been affecting the city for some time also felt invited.
Provincial Erik Oland had ample time to arrive from Pickering, where he presided at the first Eucharist of the day to open the new Jesuit Province of Canada. He had come with Peter Bisson, the outgoing Provincial of English Canada, and his new Socius, Gilles Mongeau. Deacon Ted Penton accompanied them for the Eucharist in Montreal, and a dozen concelebrants, several of whom were Jesuit jubilarians, completed the priestly picture. Pierre Bélanger led the assembly in song, supported by the organ and a wonderful vocal quartet.
The Provincial’s homily underlined the challenges already overcome and those that are still present within the framework of the Province of Canada. The prophetic role of the Jesuits was underlined in connection with the reading of Jeremiah; the qualities of the disciples were recalled to us through an exhortation of Saint Paul to the Galatians; the ways of being and of acting like Jesus, especially at the heart of the storm, were also mentioned as a source of inspiration for the Jesuits and for anyone who feels connected with Ignatian spirituality.
The celebration ended with a group photo at the back of the church. Then everyone was invited to a cocktail followed by a festive meal in the lobby of the Gesù-Centre de créativité.
If we look for a way to describe this Jesuit event in two words, we could think of "simplicity" and "grandeur". Simplicity in relationships, in the way of praying, in the animation and in the words of the Provincial; greatness through the beauty of the church and the musical quality, through the quality of participation, in the awareness of living an important moment in the history of the Society of Jesus in Canada. Yes, Simplicity and Grandeur were joined together in this celebration.
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