On Saturday, September 25th, the Archbishop of Ottawa, the Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast presided the Saturday afternoon Mass for Sunday obligation at St. Patrick’s Basilica. Two things about this visit are particularly significant.
The main reason for his presence was to celebrate the feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damian. Ottawa has an association of pro-life Catholic physicians called the Sts. Cosmas & Damian Guild, whose members were present at the Mass to commemorate the feast of their patron saints. This speaks of Archbishop Prendergast’s solid commitment to the pro-life cause. We’ve always known that Archbishop Prendergast is a strong advocate for life. In fact, in his homily, he spoke briefly of abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide. It’s not every day that we hear these topics preached from the pulpit. The Rector of St. Patrick’s, Fr. Richard Siok (pronounced Shock) also took the time to remind everybody about 40 Days for Life. St. Patrick’s has actually signed up for 2 days at Ground Zero, one by the parishioners and one by the local council of the Knights of Columbus. Fr. Siok also has a big heart for pro-life issues. It was very uplifting to see the importance of life being proclaimed so openly at Mass. Praise God!
The second reason why this event was significant pertains to some brief but very meaningful words spoken by the Archbishop during his homily. He mentioned that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) was currently working on a plan that would see the bishops provide greater support to the laity in the cause of defending life. He didn’t elaborate, but this seems connected to the commitment made by the CCCB at last year’s Plenary Assembly to become more involved in pro-life work. It has been almost a year since that promise was made but we haven’t heard anything yet. Maybe something might be announced at this year’s Plenary, scheduled for later this month.
Let’s pray that the CCCB comes up with some meaningful actions to implement across the country, and not just some pretty words on a piece of paper.