FROM FATHER NICO’S DESK
I was in Montréal for a few days and learned how much its history is deeply rooted in Catholicism. It was once a center of Catholicism in North America with its numerous seminaries and churches, including the Notre Dame Basilica, the Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde, and Saint Joseph’s Oratory. As soon as I set foot on the streets of Montréal, I quickly noticed that most of its streets are named after saints.
I visited some stunning Catholic architecture and churches that grace the city. The majestic churches are symbols of faith, history, and the dedication of generations who built them as places of worship. Yet, as I gazed upon those grand structures, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of sadness and concern for the emptiness surrounding them.
Those magnificent churches, with their intricate designs, towering spires, and sacred art, were once bustling centers of spiritual life and communal gathering. They echoed with hymns of praise, reverberated with prayers of supplication, and witnessed the sacramental moments that shaped the lives of countless people. The walls once resounded with the voices of devoted congregations coming together in worship and unity.
However, the tides of secularization have washed over Montréal, leaving these once-vibrant places of worship nearly deserted. I passed by a beautiful church that is no longer a place of worship but is now an apartment complex. The declining attendance and the dwindling faith community point to a broader shift in society’s values and priorities. In a world increasingly driven by material pursuits, technology, and individualism, the spiritual aspect of life is often neglected altogether.
Perhaps, in the rush of modern life, people have lost touch with the profound spiritual yearning within each of us. The distractions of the world may have drowned out the still, small voice that calls us to seek deeper meaning and purpose beyond our immediate concerns.
In this challenging context, the Catholic Church needs to respond with compassion, understanding, and renewed evangelization efforts. Rather than lamenting the decline, there is an opportunity to reach out to those who have drifted away and offer them the love and hope found in the teachings of Christ. Remaining steadfast in the Gospel values, we, as church, are called to provide relevant guidance and support for the spiritual journey of all
We are also called to examine our own faith and commitment to God. The emptiness of these once-thriving churches serves as a reminder to nurture our own spiritual lives and engage actively in our faith communities. Our responsibility is to keep the flame of faith alive and become beacons of light in an increasingly secular world.
The emptiness of our sacred spaces reminds us of the challenges faced in passing on the faith to future generations. In the bulletin next weekend, I will offer some suggestions on how we can reach out and share the joy of the Catholic faith, inviting everyone to know, love, and serve Jesus.
I can’t believe that we are halfway through August. I hope and pray that your summer has been relaxing. Wherever you are, remember to attend Sunday Mass and thank God for all His blessings! Enjoy!
Take care and au revoir!
To read the complete bulletin click here