Category Archives: Pilgrimage

Fatima Pilgrimage: Problems and Patience

When you’re travelling you hope and pray everything goes well, in other words, exactly as you planned. But sometimes life happens, things get out of control and you realize that you aren’t and can’t be in control. This experience can sometimes be a rude awakening. You can’t control the weather, we can’t change unexpected delays…when all this happens, all one can do is to accept it. That’s part of life. Eventually, one learns to accept things in life without any complaints. Problems help us to become more virtuous…patience being an important virtue.


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The Miracle of the Dancing Sun

During my journey here I thought of a story I heard some time ago.

Once upon a time, there was a monk who had a problem with another monk from the monastery. One day he finally worked up the courage and asked to be transferred to a different monastery, convinced that all his problems would be gone. But after being transferred to a different monastery, he experienced exactly the same problem, same problems just a different person. He then asked to be sent far into the woods in order for him to lead a life in solitude. The abbot gave him the permission. The monk moved deep into the woods and was very happy and immensely peaceful at first. One day a strong gush of wind knocked over his clay vessels and water pot, shattering them to pieces. He got very angry and yelled at the wind. It was then that he realized that his problems weren’t just the other people, he was part of the equation! He had refused to believe he could be the problem, or at least part of the problem.

We go through life not realizing that sometimes life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we say to ourselves that something or someone will be a problem, then it certainly will be that way. But if we say to ourselves that we can work out the problems that we will encounter in life, of course with the help of God’s grace, then we will!

In last Sunday’s gospel we heard Jesus promising to send us the Holy Spirit, our advocate. But the Holy Spirit isn’t our only heavenly advocate. Our Blessed Mother is too!
We are neither perfect nor do we have to pretend to be. She is our Blessed Mother who loves us as her children. She has offered us and continues to offer us hope and guidance. Let us entrust ourselves and all our troubles to her.

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A total of 50 pilgrims arrived in Fatima this morning feeling extremely tired and exhausted from a long flight and very little sleep, but we were all very happy and excited to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima for a private Mass and to join in the Rosary Procession with Candle light at night.


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Hundreds of people from all around the globe gathering together tonight and praying the rosary together and carrying the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was truly a celebration of our faith, our Blessed Mother’s love for us and certainly a moving experience.

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I’m very excited to be here, and will be sharing more photos and stories with you. Stay tuned!

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Three Toronto Priests in Fatima

Feast of St. Andre Bessette

On January 7th, we, here in Canada, celebrated the feast day of our patron saint, St. Andre Bessette, or as he is also known, Brother Andre of Montreal. Our neighbours to the south,  the Americans,  celebrate St. Andre’s feast day on January 6th. Why the discrepancy one might ask? The reason is that the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord is celebrated on January 6th, and the Epiphany of the Lord being a universal feast day of the Church, supersedes any feast days (greater, or universally celebrated feast day in the Church’s calendar, in the hierarchy of feast days always trump the local Canadian feast days). As a result, the feast day of St. Andre Bessette is moved to the following day with the approval of the Holy See.

Because Canadian winters can be quite cold and harsh and are not ideal for pilgrims to make their pilgrimages to St. Joseph’s Oratory (the Church St. Andre built) the Canadian Bishops have petitioned the Holy See to have St. Andre’s feast day moved to a time when there are more favourable weather conditions to allow for pilgrimages. Let us hope for a favourable response sometime soon!

St. Andre Bessette

A bit about our patron saint: St. Andre was born as Alfred Bessette in Mont-Saint-Grégoire, Quebec, in a small town near Montreal, as the eighth of twelve children, on August 9th, 1845. Since his birth, Brother Andre was always frail. When Alfred was nine years old his father tragically died in an accident, and three years later, his mother dying from tuberculosis, left him an orphan at the age of twelve.

Alfred made many attempts to find a stable job but each time he was either turned away or let go because he was small in stature, weak, and frail. When Alfred was working for his pastor, Fr. Andre Provencal, he recognized Alfred’s faith and vocation and sent him to the Congregation of the Holy Cross in Montreal with a letter to the superior of the Congregation stating, “I am sending you a saint.” Even with this extraordinary letter, Alfred was rejected because of his frail health. That is when the Archbishop of Montreal intervened. And as a result Alfred was accepted and became Brother Andre. Br. Andre was entrusted with the task of being porter at Notre Dame College, as well as sacristan, laundry worker, and messenger. For 40 years he remained faithful in his simple duties.

Br. Andre had a great confidence and devotion to St. Joseph, and many of his prayers were answered and many more received miraculous healings. Br. Andre was visited and befriended by so many pilgrims during his life time that when he died at the age of 91 in 1937, a million people came to mourn. St. Joseph’s Oratory, the Church he envisioned and completed 30 years after his passing, receives approximately 2 million visitors annually.

May St. Andre intercede from heaven for us so that we too may grow in confidence of St. Joseph and so that we will reach our dream of having our beautiful church building in Maple soon.