The Oratory, a Place of Hope and Healing
We seem to be on the way out of this long period marked by the pandemic, even if the path remains uncertain and the fear of new waves still present. We have all been affected by this crisis and we understand the importance of healing the wounds caused by these difficult times.
People who suffered from this disease needed medical attention and a shorter or longer healing time. But, all of us need to heal from the isolation, the estrangement, the loss of the landmarks that give direction to our life. We need to experience these moments of brotherhood again: of celebration of life or of support in the ordeal of the death of relatives or friends.
For many believers, this period was also marked by the absence of the community celebration of their faith. Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, like so many other places of worship, had to deal with this extraordinary situation.
Two days before the large gatherings for the feast of Saint Joseph, in March 2020, we were forced to close our doors; the festivities surrounding the tenth anniversary of Brother André’s canonization scheduled for October 2020 had to be abandoned and Christmas Eve could only be celebrated with a small group of 25 people.
Our team has worked to keep the tradition of hospitality and prayer alive in this place. The Mass offered each day on Radio VM and on social media has enabled thousands of people to continue to pray with us. We were also able to reach thousands of pilgrims by phone or via the Internet. In an undoubtedly more difficult context, the mission of welcome, prayer and compassion was able to continue. It is now possible to resume gradually, and with great caution, part of our activities.
Saint Joseph’s Oratory, inspired by Saint Brother André, has been a place of healing since it was founded in 1904. When Saint Brother André was still with us, men and women came to meet him, shared their suffering with him and sometimes left with unexpected healing or, at least, with the certainty of being able to count on the prayers of a man of God. Since the death of Brother André, Saint Joseph’s Oratory continues to be a place of hope especially for sick people.
We still receive moving testimonies today from people who have found an unexpected cure at the Oratory. We also welcome men and women every day who come to express their inner suffering. Some desire to meet God in the sacrament of forgiveness and reconciliation, others seek solutions to their difficulties during a meeting at the counseling office. Many ask for prayers at the blessings office. How many more entrust themselves to the Lord in the silence of places of prayer or address themselves to Saint Joseph, the Virgin Mary or Saint Brother André.
In these days of autumn when our hearts are torn between the hope of a return to normal life and the fear that some “variants” threaten us again; we know that in the heart of our beautiful city of Montreal, there is this place of welcome and peace. Perhaps we will be able to hear, in the silence, the little voice of Brother André whispering in our ears: “How good God is! How he takes care of us! “