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INFO Lacombe - June 17 2011



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  • 1. Albert Lacombe, OMI1827 – 1916 Volume 8, Number 21 June 17, 2011 QUEEN’S HOUSE SASKATOON In this issue... MY MINISTRY AT QUEEN’S HOUSE…………………...….……......…..1 BRENDAN BITZ: OUR NEW DIRECTOR………………………………..4 SERVICE IS OUR MANDATE……….....6 THINGS FROM THE E-WORLD ……....7 1. The Queen’s House Chapel viewed from the very green and restful park that surrounds the retreat center. NEXT ISSUE OF INFO LACOMBE WILL BE MY MINISTRY AT JUNE 24, 2011. QUEEN’S HOUSE By Paul Fachet OMI. “What do you do at Queen’s House?” is a question I am often asked. But, as I see it, that question ought to be prefaced by another that is more basic: How did you come to be Saskatoon Office- Communications on staff at Queen’s House in the first place? TEL: 306 244 1556 As most readers of Info Lacombe are aware, FAX: 306 242 8916 before moving to Saskatoon in 2003, I had CELL: 306 370 7581 been, for thirty-one years (1972-2003), a HOME: 306 653 3113 ex 203 professor of mainly Biblical Studies at Newman Theological College, Edmonton,
  • 2. Volume 8, Number 21 June 17, 2011 175 MAIN STREET ● OTTAWA ON K1S 1C3 ● TEL: 613-230-2225 ● FAX: 613-230-2948 ● www.omilacombe.cawhile also being on staff at St. CharlesScholasticate, an Oblate formationcommunity, housed initially in a wing ofNTC and later in three duplexes in St. Albert. In 2000-2001 I took an eight monthsabbatical in South America (Bolivia andPeru) and was intent on learning Spanishsufficiently so that, after a couple of years, Imight transfer from Canada to South Americaand be part of the Oblate community andmission in Bolivia and Peru. Near the end ofthat experience, however, in March-April,2001, I was stricken by a debilitatingneurological syndrome (Gillian Barre) thatrendered me a quadriplegic and I washospitalized in Lima for over a month. I wasstill under nurses’ care and in need of a wheelchair when, in mid-May, I returned to Canadaand was left wondering “What now?” Theanswer came rather unexpectedly one day inmid June while I was recouping at MazenodResidence, Saskatoon, and hobbling about onthe grounds of Queen’s House with the helpof a cane. Suddenly, running to greet me,there appeared Gisele Bauche, the director ofQueen’s House, and Lucie Leduc , theprogram coordinator: “Paul, Paul, we needyou at Queen’s House”, they exclaimedexcitedly. (At that time, for several yearspreviously there had been no Oblate on staffat Queen’s House.) “Like this?” I motionedwith my cane. “Look”, I continued, “If andwhen I get my strength and mobility back, Ipromise that I will come back.” And I did.In June, 2003, I moved to Saskatoon to be onstaff at Queen’s House.So what do I do here? Since 2003, I haveoffered each year a mini-series (eight Paul Fachet has biked six times in the Queen’s House Bike-a-thon, a distance of 235 km. in twomonthly two hour sessions) called days.“Journeying with Scripture”. Hence, mainlyin that series over the past eight years, I have Page 2 of 8
  • 3. Volume 8, Number 21 June 17, 2011 175 MAIN STREET ● OTTAWA ON K1S 1C3 ● TEL: 613-230-2225 ● FAX: 613-230-2948 ● Queen’s House, was a four-part series on Jewish-Christian-Muslim dialogue. Then, last year, Neil Schwartz, a Jewish Cantor and I together offered an evening of reflections on the Lord’s Prayer and its roots in Jewish Synagogue Prayer. I have also preached several retreats at Queen’s House and elsewhere over the past eight years. Most of these are based on material adapted from the Scripture series I had previously shared. The retreats are usually given during the month of July each year as part of the “summer stillness” program that Queen’s House has been offering for many years, even prior to my coming to Saskatoon. One retreat in particular: “The Eight Signs in the Fourth Gospel”, has been offered several times, each time with great satisfaction and success. This past year (2010), I have started offering a six day retreat based on “The Washing of Feet”, the popular painting by the German priest- painter Sieger Koder. This retreat takes more of a ‘right brain’ approach to our biblical tradition and is also well received. Thus, teaching and preaching have occupiedThe tabernacle centered in the Stillness chapel some of my time these past eight years.where the pray-er enters for a time of clearly However, my first six years at Queen’s Housefocused prayer. were dedicated mainly to a two year Spiritual Direction Formation Program (SDFP). I waslectured on selections of the Bible with which blessed to have had two very capable andI have long been fascinated but unable to gifted women, Sr. Louisa Brost, o.s.u. andprobe into while teaching at Newman, for Claire Ewart Fisher, a Mennonite minister,example: The Book of Revelation, The Song graciously accept to come on board andof Songs, The Book of Job, Paul’s Letter to together with me lead the program as a team.the Galatians and The Book of Jonah. Thus, in 2004-2006 and again in 2006-2008,Currently, I am offering a series on The Book the three of us set up and coordinated twoof Genesis, chapters 1-11. As well, on two complete cycles of the program, each timeoccasions, I initiated and was a participant in beginning with twelve participants. In thetwo interesting ventures in inter-faith first cycle all the participants were women.dialogue. The first, during my second year at In the second cycle half the participants were Page 3 of 8
  • 4. Volume 8, Number 21 June 17, 2011 175 MAIN STREET ● OTTAWA ON K1S 1C3 ● TEL: 613-230-2225 ● FAX: 613-230-2948 ● www.omilacombe.cawomen, half men. All three of us on team them as my sisters and brothers, and asagreed that the second cycle was a better beloved, precious children of our Abba, God.experience for both the participants and us theleaders. In 2008-2009, as a follow up to the BRENDAN BITZ: OURsecond cycle of the SDFP, we three plus a fewgraduates of the program formed an expanded NEW DIRECTORteam and animated a Nineteenth AnnotationRetreat based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. By Nestor Gregoire, OMIIgnatius of Loyola. All of the aboveexperiences have been very enriching for mein particular and, I would say, very beneficialfor Queen’s House in general as well.Besides teaching Scripture, preaching retreatsand helping coordinate programs, I also serveas chaplain at Queen’s House. Thus, at leastonce a week, usually on Tuesday afternoons, Ipreside at a Eucharist with Queen’s Housestaff. As well, whenever there is a programsponsored by Queen’s House and there isneed of a priest to preside at one or more ofthe Eucharistic Liturgies within the program,I am usually the one called upon to serve inthat capacity. Then, too, there is theoccasional person who is seeking spiritualdirection and / or counseling and is referred tome.Hence, during the past eight years, I certainlyhave had much to do at Queen’s House andbeyond. As I see it, however, my mainministry here by far is in being an affirming,caring, “Oblate” presence to everyone whocomes to Queen’s House, and especially tothe entire Queen’s House’s staff. If Queen’sHouse is to be a haven of hospitality andwelcome to all who come through our doors, I Brendan Bitz has come from a background ofsee my main ministry in making sure that teaching, principal and superintendent of theeach and every member of the staff is made to Saskatoon Catholic School District.feel welcome, special and loved (translated“hugged”) and not just occasionally but, as Brendan Bitz serves as director of Queen’smuch as possible each time I stop to greet House in Saskatoon. He comes out of a background of teaching and superintendent of Page 4 of 8
  • 5. Volume 8, Number 21 June 17, 2011 175 MAIN STREET ● OTTAWA ON K1S 1C3 ● TEL: 613-230-2225 ● FAX: 613-230-2948 ● www.omilacombe.cathe Saskatoon Catholic School System. His conscious energy. If it is not loud and flashy itwife Louise is chaplain at Holy Cross High does not grab the media’s attention. TheSchool in Saskatoon. setting of the retreat house is more important today than before.”We all wonder if Brendan was born with asmile on his face because you are His hand lowered on the table to include aimmediately in the presence of an outgoing, further point. “Queen’s House really doesfriendly and very enthusiastic man. His entire have a place. How do we make it moredemeanor radiates energy. contemporary? How do we make it more accommodating? These are the challenges.”The interview began with the simple question. He lifted his eyes from the outline on the“What have you learnt since becoming table. “But there is a hunger out there.”director here at Queen’s House?” “The astonishing thing is that there is thisAs he taught, all his thoughts are laid out in hunger in young people. When young peopleorder. “It is the amount of goodness in people. come here, when they embrace a faith or aIt is the goodness that comes through the service project, they flower. “people who are coming on retreat, whovolunteer in the Queen’s House setting and all Continuing the observations on the spiritualthose who want to see the retreat ministry hunger out there, he added: “It is thesurvive and thrive. These are not the people ambience here. We are seeing a mission to thewho are saying that someone else should do hurting, secular events within a gospelit, but they are there helping to make it environment. Can we be for the secularhappen. These people are willing to make community what Albert Lacombe was for hissacrifices for Queen’s House.” community? Or Eugene de Mazenod for the hurting people of his day? It is here that weThen with his hand outlining on the table top can be a source of peace, light and hope.”what a piece of chalk would do on theclassroom board he outlined his points. “The “The heart of our ministry is hospitality. WeOblates have no idea what they have actually want to give a sincere welcome with joy anddone and the commitment they have made to warmth. A hospitality that is accommodatingdo something like this. I do not think they had and given with consideration.”any idea what they were starting. This isremarkable in itself. He folded his hands and added to the observations. “Queen’s House is here for a“Queen’s House and its setting is the antidote reason. It did not spring up because someoneto all that is troubling the world. We need the waved the wand. It took sacrifice and visiontype of environment that allows people to in order to sustain it.”unhook, to step back, to view and experiencea calm environment. This is away from the Moving into the future of Queen’s House hefrantic environment of our businesses and our folded his hands. “This is a place of faith. It isfamilies. We are just racing and chasing every essential that the call of Jesus Christ put outday! Each of these is not a bad thing in to ‘take up your cross and follow me’ bethemselves but they claim so much of our inspiration for us. Page 5 of 8
  • 6. Volume 8, Number 21 June 17, 2011 175 MAIN STREET ● OTTAWA ON K1S 1C3 ● TEL: 613-230-2225 ● FAX: 613-230-2948 ●“I think that divine inspiration will come. SERVICE IS OUR MANDATEThere will be the unfolding of the divine By Lucy Leducmystery. Human inspiration has its limits. Butthe divine inspiration will come to the fore.”“The Oblate charism is essential to our future.This is the key. This is our thread back to thedivine.” His hands opened up withexpression. “The Oblate charism, you hangon to it for all it’s worth!”“Who are our needy today? Right now, it isour own children in this secular community.There is a spiritual awareness out there butvery little knowledge of our religion. Here wecan be a meeting place to make thisconnection between our spiritual hunger andthe Christian story.”Brendan sees where this ministry must move.“We have to build a partnership. We are not astorefront for the needy such as being a dropin center or a food bank, our connection withthe needy is the work be do with thecaregivers. They have the relationships withthe needy.” This is where the ministry to thepoor fits in.With enthusiasm he added, “I really enjoyedthe Oblate Community Days. The aging doesnot diminish the charm, the goodness, the I. Lucy Leduc enters her thirteenth year ofcommitment and the spirit of these men. We ministry with the Queen’s House Staff.are not to take this for granted. I want to hangon to this spirit.“It is here that we see the Oblate charism in For thirteen years now, I have had theaction. I see in these older Oblates, men who privilege of serving as Program Coordinatorhave lived out the charism for decades and for Queen’s House Retreat & Renewalhave asked for so little in return. They have Centre, working with wonderful, dedicatedsurvived many a cross and yet are still joyful. people both past and present. I have been moved over the years by two ongoing“Our challenge is how to enliven the charism dynamics at work in this ministry: the Oblatefor the next generation?” Charism as it touches us and the community at large gathering in this place of peace, for Page 6 of 8
  • 7. Volume 8, Number 21 June 17, 2011 175 MAIN STREET ● OTTAWA ON K1S 1C3 ● TEL: 613-230-2225 ● FAX: 613-230-2948 ● www.omilacombe.caretreats, workshops and seminars sponsored On the same weekend as the latter, ourby Queen’s House programming staff, or “Ecumenical Advent Retreat” led by Bishopmeetings, retreats and conferences hosted by Don Bolen attracted thirty or so people toour facility bookings staff. “remembering, seeing and hoping” in preparation for the celebration of theBoth facility bookings and sponsored incarnation.programming together create opportunitiesfor people from diverse backgrounds to We enjoyed celebrating the Oblate Feast Dayexperience Christ’s peace and refreshment of the Immaculate Conception with Oblatesthrough the unique Oblate lens of hospitality and the community at large with a vespersand faith. The Q.H. staff as a whole work service followed by a social.hard to create an atmosphere of welcome,beauty and quiet for all to enjoy. As staff we played a fun guessing game during Advent (ie. Through puzzle piecesSome programming, bookings and staff with general questions and answers for eachhighlights this year and last since August, staff member participating, we guessed at2010: who our puzzle questions pointed to on staff) leading up to our Christmas staff party whereIn early August, many Ursulines of Prelate the answers to each of the puzzles wasand Bruno gathered to take part in “Cosmic revealed. We also proudly raised over $300Blessing: Sabbath Retreat for Religious”, for the Oblate mission in Haiti and thebeing renewed by the Universe Story and Friendship Inn in Saskatoon.their part in it. More recently, we celebrated the week ofIn late September, Fr. Kevin McGee and Christian Unity with a Noon Prayer liturgyMarge Copeland, led a group of about 25 and lunch on the theme of “Breaking thepeople on a journey of contemplative prayer Bread in Hope”; and a Saturday Scripturefestwith a “Centering Prayer Retreat”. where a Keynote and panel of speakers fromFr. Paul Fachet, OMI led a weekend Faith and diverse denominations shared on their ownSharing Retreat for L’Arche members and the and their traditions perspectives of “Womenlarger community. in Scripture”.We reached out to grieving widows with a“Grief and Loss” Retreat led by SarahDonelly. For many years Sarah came to THINGS FROM THE E-retreats and programs at Queen’s House. WORLDNow, she is giving back as a capable andmuch appreciated facilitator of grief retreats.In late November we partnered with This is a“Tamara’s House” of Saskatoon, and website originating from the Benedictinewelcomed six inner city women in recovery Sisters of Erie Pennsylvania. One of theirfrom abuse for our first “Women’s Wellness” well-known sisters is Joan Chittister, led by Gisele Bauche. They expressed They have launched what they describe as adeep gratitude for the healing and lay monastic movement for seekers of Godtransformation they experienced. and a meaningful life, calling it “our gift to the next generation.” “Monasteries of the Page 7 of 8
  • 8. Volume 8, Number 21 June 17, 2011 175 MAIN STREET ● OTTAWA ON K1S 1C3 ● TEL: 613-230-2225 ● FAX: 613-230-2948 ● www.omilacombe.caHeart: A New Movement for a New World”offers an opportunity for anyone -- regardless,or even in the absence, of faith tradition -- tolive Benedictine spirituality and values.Sometimes on visiting a library you stumbleupon an article in a periodical, or a shelf ofnew acquisitions and sit down and take theoccasion to enjoy this serendipity. In thewired world, a trip to google or other searchengine is the equivalent of putting in a namelike Matteo Ricci SJ in China, or TissaBalasuriya OMI in Sri Lanka which wouldproduce remarkable readings.I came across the following interview on theAgenda on TV Ontario on Two Popes andTheir Church, Blessed John Paul II andBenedict XVI, a fascinating panel ofindividuals that is a tribute to journalism thatcan handle topics in a manner other than a 30second sound bite. A click on the lengthy linkbelow will direct you to that panel discussion. Paul Howard - Oblate AssociateTVO indicates the direction of the panel.Pope John Paul II was the Roman Catholic Allen. You can subscribe to individualChurchs first globalized pope. He was on TV columnists such as Mr Allen or Sr Joanaround the world trying to inspire Catholics. Chittister OSB, and have their columns arrivePope Benedict XVI is an administrator, on your email without as google search.working behind the scenes trying to help the Here is a John Allen column on BenedictChurch during one of its most difficult XVI...periods. Two different men, two differentpopes. How will they affect the future of the Church? only-benedict-could-go-china Lastly, a little known periodical available on-index.cfm? line is the Sacred Heart Messenger, producedpage_id=7&bpn=109164&ts=2011-05-19%2 by the Jesuits of Ireland, now in its 122nd020:00:00.0 year!!!!The National Catholic Reporter has a You will findremarkable commentator on things Catholic interesting articles as well as homilies andfrom his vantage point in Rome, viz., John reflections for up and coming Sundays. Page 8 of 8