Dear friends of Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mt. Royal
Dear friends of Saint Joseph and Saint Brother André,

You know the popular expression, “Out of sight out of mind.” We could take advantage of this crucial time to adapt this saying to read,” Out of sight near to heart.” The important measures of public health oblige us to live at a certain physical distancing. We have to remain at a distance from others, even those that we used to rub elbows with. These practices are not easy… but this fact illustrates that humans like to live in groupings, that we have need of others, their help, their affection.

Eucharist and Forgiveness

Today, I invite you to remain ” Near to heart” with others and near to the heart of God. Many believers find it upsetting not to be able to participate at Sunday mass, if not every day. Because of the extraordinary measures, for a time, it is not possible for us to gather together to experience this wonderful gift of God which is the Eucharist. However, this painful situation can be the opportunity for all of us to become more aware of just how wonderful this gift is.

Many people are unsettled since they are unable to meet a priest to experience the important Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Pope Francis has been very clear about this when he said recently on March 20, ” If you can’t find a confessor, all you need do is speak directly to God,” referring to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. And God who is love and mercy will lend his ear. Saint Brother André used to say, “There is such a tiny distance between heaven and earth that God always can hear us.”

The call of the gospel

This ordeal has impeded us from staying close to the heart of the gospel. So when Jesus said goodbye to his disciple friends who believed in him, he said to them, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.… By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Our faith in Jesus Christ prompts us to demonstrate our love for others in a show of solidarity. Such a surge of love! We must believe that our actions can make a difference and contribute to controlling the spread of the coronavirus. Our commitment to following the Lord also invites us to look for ways to reassure those dear to us who feel lonely. A telephone call, an email, a gesture of solidarity, a prayer are expressions of this love for an other. We should act in the name of our faith in God, in the name of our love for others.

Filled with God

As the Most Rev. C. Rodembourg, Bishop of Saint-Hyacinthe and President of the Assembly of the Bishops of Québec highlighted last March 13, “Our Sunday is not vacant, it is filled! — filled with God and with others! Filled with love, with compassion, and with solidarity.” Such is the primary mission of the disciple of Jesus Christ: to be near to heart toward our sisters and brothers, this great human family, wounded, yet how united and strong.

Out of sight, near to heart. Let us remain united in prayer.
May Saint Joseph of Mount Royal protect you.
May Saint Brother André watch over each and every one of you.

Father Claude Grou, CSC