Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Final Post

Dear Ones,

I am moving to New York.  I will pray for you and for the Archbishop and the Priests of the Cathedral, to whom this little nobody owes a very great debt.  I will pray for the on-going restoration of the Cathedral because it is for the salvation of souls and the glory of God.  

In your kindness, pray for me too.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Episcopal Boyishness

Bishops share a laugh outside St. Michael's Cathedral last May.

It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes. 
                    – St. Thomas Aquinas

Friday, February 4, 2011

Our Lady

Our Lady is called by the devotional title Morning Star in the mural above the Lady altar in St. Michael's Cathedral.

Our Lady's love is like a stream that has its source in the Eternal Fountains, quenches the thirst of all, can never be drained, and ever flows back to its Source. 
        - St. Marguerite Bourgeoys

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

An Irish Saint's Wish-list

An angel from above the nativity scene in St. Michael's Cathedral.

I would like the angels of Heaven to be among us. I would like an abundance of peace. I would like full vessels of charity. I would like rich treasures of mercy. I would like cheerfulness to preside over all. I would like Jesus to be present. I would like the three Marys of illustrious renown to be with us. I would like the friends of Heaven to be gathered around us from all parts. I would like myself to be a rent payer to the Lord; that I should suffer distress, that he would bestow a good blessing upon me. I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings. I would like to be watching Heaven's family drinking it through all eternity. 
                      – St Brigid

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Prayer for a Stressful Time

A representation of the Holy Spirit on the ambo in St. Michael's Cathedral. We don't call Him "the Comforter" for nothing.

May He support us all the day long,
till the shades lengthen, 
and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed,
and the fever of life is over and our work is done!
Then in His mercy may He give us a safe lodging,
and a holy rest, and peace at the last. 
                - Blessed John Henry Newman

Monday, January 24, 2011

On the Anniversary of Roe v Wade

The Holy Family in a stained glass window of St. Michael's Cathedral.

America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation...Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign. 
                   – Blessed Mother Teresa

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Archbishop Dennis T O'Connor, CSB

The likeness of His Grace Archbishop O'Connor, 3rd archbishop of Toronto, hangs in the sacristy of St. Michael's Cathedral.

His Grace was the first Basilian priest to be consecrated to the episcopate and the first Ontario-born Bishop of Toronto. Let us pray for him and for the great mission of his episcopate (1899-1908): 

Truly Catholic education in truly Catholic schools.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Holy Trinity

An angel in the stained glass windows of St. Michael's Cathedral.

I adore You, O most Holy Trinity,  O One God in the Holy Trinity,  for having enobled the Immaculate in such a divine way. And I will never cease daily from the first moment I awake to adore You most humbly, O Divine Trinity, with my face to the ground, repeating three times: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning, is now,  and will be for ever. Amen. 
                         – St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thy Cross

A Crucifix on the main altar of St. Michael's Cathedral.

Glory be to Thee, O Lord! Thy cross is my resting place. 
              – Blessed Angela of Foligno

Friday, January 14, 2011

While We Have Time

A grave marker for the Hughes Family in the basement crypt of St. Michael's Cathedral.

Brethren, let us do good while we have time.  – St. Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Requiem Aeternam...

The area around St. Michael's Cathedral was filled with Police and media vehicles today, following the injury and subsequent death of Toronto Police Sergeant Ryan Russell 
at nearby St. Michael's Hospital. 

 ...dona ei, Domine et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Going Back to The Gospel

The ambo in St. Michael's Cathedral.

Let us go back to the holy source, to the Gospel, the word of God.  Let us draw from it lessons of moral strength, heroic patience, tenderness for all creatures and for souls.  Let us Christians be sure never to “break the bruised reed” nor to “quench the smoking flax.”...Let us beware: nothing is so delicate and so sacred as the human soul, nothing is so quickly bruised.  Let each one of our words and deeds contain a principle of life that, penetrating other spirits, will communicate light and strength and will reveal God to them. 
         – Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur 

Sunday, January 9, 2011


The Holy Family in the Nativity scene at St. Michael's Cathedral.

Yours truly often writes J*M*J in honor of the Holy Family at the top of personal letters and (in case you think you’ve seen it all) I happen to know that these two crazy kids have placed their marriage under the patronage of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. It might also interest you to note that the Eucharistic Adoration available on weekdays at St. Michael's Cathedral played a role in their love-story.  

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Almost By the Sheep

Shepherds and sheep attend the Nativity scene in St. Michael's Cathedral.

The more we are proud that the Bethlehem story is plain enough to be understood by the shepherds, and almost by the sheep, the more do we let ourselves go, in dark and gorgeous imaginative frescoes or pageants about the mystery and majesty of the Three Magian Kings. 
                   GK Chesterton

Thursday, January 6, 2011


The Magi adore Our Little Lord in the Nativity scene at a side altar in St. Michael's Cathedral.

If the Magi had come in search of an earthly King, they would have been disconcerted at finding that they had taken the trouble to come such a long way for nothing. Consequently they would have neither adored nor offered gifts. But since they sought a heavenly King, though they found in Him no signs of royal pre-eminence, yet, content with the testimony of the star alone, they adored: for they saw a man, and they acknowledged a God. 
              - St. John Chrysostom

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Singing is a Service

Members of the St. Michael's Boys' Choir sing.

Always remember that your singing is a service. It is a service to God, offering him the praise that is due. It is a service to other worshippers, helping them raise their hearts and minds in prayer. And it is a service to the whole Church, a foretaste of the heavenly liturgy in which the choirs of angels and saints unite in one unending song of love and praise. 
       -    Pope Benedict XVI
      (Address to the Pueri Cantores Federation, 2010)


Monday, January 3, 2011


Fisheye view of St. Michael's Cathedral.  photo source

The power of obedience! The lake of Gennesareth had denied its fishes to Peter’s nets. A whole night in vain. Then, obedient, he lowered his net again to the water and they caught ‘a huge number of fish.’ Believe me: the miracle is repeated each day.
                      – St. Josemaria Escriva

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Behold Thy Mother

Statue for the Marian Year outside St. Michael's Cathedral.

The Lord wills to let his face shine upon us through the face of the Mother of God. We serve a Mother who seems to grow more beautiful as new generations rise up and call her blessed.
                    - G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Feast of St. Eugenia

St. Michael's Cathedral

St. Michael’s Cathedral is open daily, offering Masses and Eucharistic Adoration, at various hours all day.  Think that’s no big deal?  On 31 May, 1863 Eugenia stopped into a church on her way and heard a priest say:

Is there no one out there who feels called to dedicate themselves to doing good for love of the Heart of Jesus?

Eugenia decided to live in abandonment to God and in the hands of Mary Immaculate, founded a religious institute, and became a saint. 

What might you hear if you stopped in today?

You Don't Know What's Good For You

St. Michael's Cathedral photo from internet.

We should not bear it with bad grace if the answer to our prayer is long delayed. Rather let us because of this show great patience and resignation. For He delays for this reason: that we may offer Him a fitting occasion of honoring us through His divine providence. Whether, therefore, we receive what we ask for, or do not receive it, let us still continue steadfast in prayer. For to fail in obtaining the desires of our heart, when God so wills it, is not worse than to receive it ; for we know not as He does, what is profitable to us.
                        - St. John Chrysostom

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mass for the Unborn

photo from internet

 5:30pm Dec. 28, 2010 because...

…each according to his or her possibilities, profession, and responsibilities, should feel in themselves an obligation to love and serve life, from its beginning to its natural end.   
- Pope Benedict XVI 

Holy Innocents Pray for Us

Monday, December 27, 2010

St. Leo I on the Nativity

During the noon Mass on Christmas Day there was a minor medical emergency at St. Michael's Cathedral. Ambulance arrived and offered assistance to a parishioner. It's a reminder of the frailty of our human nature, a nature which Our Lord so fully and humbly took on Himself.

…being invisible in His own nature He became visible in ours, and He whom nothing could contain, was content to be contained, abiding before all time He began to be in time: the Lord of all things, He obscured His immeasurable majesty and took on Him the form of a servant, being God, that cannot suffer, He did not disdain to be man that can, and immortal as He is, to subject Himself to the laws of death. 
                            – Pope St Leo I

Friday, December 24, 2010

At Midnight Mass

The chalice and paten of the late G. Emmett Cardinal Carter. 

Your eyes at the midnight Mass will gaze upon the elevated Host and your lips will utter, “My Lord and my God.” A few minutes more and the little Infant will have come to you. His Immaculate Mother did not hold him more truly in her arms that first Christmas midnight than you will have him, heart to heart. Then all the love of that Infant Redeemer will be poured out upon you. It is a thirst of the heart of every creature that desires to be loved, and the love which can alone satisfy that craving is the Divine Love.
          – St. Katherine Drexel

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

St. Peter Canisius on CINO Catholics

A few Catholics pray in the back of the nave of St. Michael's Cathedral.

Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were, to be in collusion with the Church's enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith. 
                   – St. Peter Canisius

Monday, December 20, 2010


His Grace, Archbishop Collins in St. Michael's Cathedral. His Grace is a great encourager of vocations and can occasionally be found having coffee at nearby Fran's Diner with a seminarian or someone else who is considering a call to Religious life or the Priesthood.

A religious vocation is the greatest grace that God can give a soul after Holy Baptism.  
                    – St. Mary Magdelene de Pazzi

Friday, December 17, 2010

Across the Boundaries of Time

His Holiness Pope John Paul II outside St. Michael's Cathedral, 1984.

The goal and target of our life is He, the Christ who awaits us - each one singly and altogether - to lead us across the boundaries of time to the eternal embrace of the God who loves us. 
                     - Pope John Paul II

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Annoying Craftsmen

The work of craftsmen on the south side of St. Michael's Cathedral. are like the stone that must be chiseled and fashioned before being set in the building.

Thus you should understand that those who are in the monastery are craftsmen placed there by God to mortify you by working and chiseling at you. Some will chisel with words, telling you what you would rather not hear; others by deed, doing against you what you would rather not endure; others by temperament, being in their person and in their actions a bother and annoyance; and others by their thoughts, neither esteeming nor feeling love for you. 

- St. John of the Cross speaks here of annoyances in monastery life but I suppose that it must apply to family life too. I wouldn't know, I never annoy my family.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Debt Collections

A St. Vincent de Paul Society poor box stands by in the narthex of St. Michael's Cathedral. A member of the society usually holds it after Mass on Sunday so that parishioners may give alms on their way out.

When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice. 
                 – St. Gregory the Great

Friday, December 10, 2010

On The Religious Life and Death

The grave marker of some of Toronto's first B.V.M. sisters in the basement crypt of St. Michael's Cathedral.

They [religious] live more purely, they fall more rarely, they rise more speedily, they are aided more powerfully, they live more peacefully, they die more securely, and they are rewarded more abundantly. 
              – St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Immaculate Mary

The letters A and M (for auspice Maria) and two little angels above the door to the Sacristy in St. Michael's Cathedral.

...Under her guidance, under her patronage, under her kindness and protection, nothing is to be feared; nothing is hopeless. Because, while bearing toward us a truly motherly affection and having in her care the work of our salvation, she is solicitous about the whole human race. And since she has been appointed by God to be the Queen of heaven and earth, and is exalted above all the choirs of angels and saints, and even stands at the right hand of her only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she presents our petitions in a most efficacious manner. What she asks, she obtains. Her pleas can never be unheard.
                          - Pope Pius IX (Dec. 8, 1854)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Favorite Plainsongs Are Like Bellybuttons

The advent wreath with two candles lit in St. Michael's Cathedral.

... Consolámini, consolámini, pópule méus:

cito véniet sálus túa:

quare mæróre consúmeris,

quia innovávit te dólor?

Salvábo te, nóli timére,

égo enim sum Dóminus Déus túus,

Sánctus Israël, Redémptor túus.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Precious Pearl

A parishioner holds a pearl rosary at St. Michael's Cathedral.

The Hail Mary well said, that is with attention, devotion, and modesty is, according to the saints, the enemy of the devil which puts him to flight and the hammer which crushes him. It is the sanctification of the soul, the joy of the angels, the melody of the predestinate, the canticle of the New Testament, the pleasure of Mary, and the glory of the most Holy Trinity. The Hail Mary is a heavenly dew which fertilizes the soul. It is the chaste and loving kiss which we give to Mary. It is a vermilion rose which we present to her; a precious pearl we offer her; a chalice of divine ambrosial nectar which we proffer to her.  
               – St. Louis Marie de Montfort

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Heart of Jesus

Jesus points to His Sacred Heart in the stained glass of St. Michael's Cathedral.

Does our life become from day to day more painful, more oppressive, more replete with afflictions? Blessed be He a thousand times who desires it so.... 

Heart of Jesus, I love Thee; but increase my love. Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee; but give greater vigor to my confidence. Heart of Jesus, I give my heart to Thee; but so enclose it in Thee that it may never be separated from Thee. Heart of Jesus, I am all Thine; but take care of my promise so that I may be able to put it in practice even unto the complete sacrifice of my life. 
            – Bl. Miguel Pro (priest and martyr)

Friday, December 3, 2010

St. Francis Xavier on the Vocations Crisis

The Rector of St. Michael's Cathedral (Fr. Busch) with the Young Adults group.

Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: there is nobody to make them Christians. Again and again I have thought of going round the universities of Europe, especially Paris, and everywhere crying out like a madman, riveting the attention of those with more learning than charity: "What a tragedy: how many souls are being shut out of heaven and falling into hell, thanks to you!"

- a letter of St. Francis Xavier to St. Ignatius Loyola

Think you might be hearing the call? 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


The little Tabernacle (with the Last Supper scene) in St. John's Chapel at St. Michael's Cathedral.

Lord Jesus, You are in the Holy Eucharist. You are there a yard away in the Tabernacle. Your body, Your soul, Your human nature, Your divinity, Your whole being is there, in its twofold nature. How close You are, my God, my Savior, my Spouse, My Beloved!

You were not nearer to the Blessed Virgin during the nine months that she carried You than You are to me when You rest on my tongue in Holy Communion. You were no closer to the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph in the caves at Bethlehem or in the flight into Egypt or at any moment of that divine family life than you are to me at this moment – and so many others - in the Tabernacle.

                     – Blessed Charles de Foucauld

Sunday, November 28, 2010

For a Lost Cause

The much-loved statue of St. Jude in St. Michael's Cathedral.

O most holy apostle, Saint Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honoureth and invoketh thee universally, as the patron of hopeless cases, and of things almost despaired of. Pray for me, who am so miserable. Make use, I implore thee, of that particular privilege accorded to thee, to bring visible and speedy help where help was almost despaired of. Come to mine assistance in this great need, that I may receive the consolation and succor of Heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly (here make your request) and that I may praise God with thee and all the elect throughout eternity. I promise thee, O blessed Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favour, to always honour thee as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to thee. Amen.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Life: The First Human Right

In union with the Holy Father’s solemn vigil for all nascent life (at St. Peter’s Basilica), the Archbishop of Toronto will preside over a Holy Hour for life at St. Michael’s Cathedral.

Saturday, November 27th, 7pm.  See you there.   Oh, and just to be clear: 

Catholics are pro-life.  Period.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pillar of Prayer

A detail of the ambo in the Sanctuary of St. Michael's Cathedral.

How often I failed in my duty to God, because I was not leaning on the strong pillar of prayer. 
                  - St. Teresa of Avila

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Go to a Chapel

The handrail at an entrance to St. Michael's Cathedral.

Jesus is waiting for you in the chapel. Go and find Him when your strength and patience are giving out, when you feel lonely and helpless. Say to Him: ‘You know well what is happening, my dear Jesus. I have only You. Come to my aid ...’ And then go your way. And don’t worry about knowing how you are going to manage. It is enough to have told our good Lord. He has an excellent memory. 
                   – St. Jeanne Jugan

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Good Shepherd

A painting of Jesus as the Good Shepherd on the ceiling of St. Michael's Cathedral. The early Christians especially favored the Good Shepherd image.

O Lord, show Your mercy to me and gladden my heart. I am like the man on the way to Jericho who was overtaken by robbers, wounded and left for dead. O Good Samaritan, come to my aid. I am like the sheep that went astray. O Good Shepherd, seek me out and bring me home in accord with Your will. Let me dwell in Your house all the days of my life and praise You for ever and ever with those who are there.  
              – St. Jerome

Friday, November 12, 2010

For the Poor Souls

A book (wherein you may write the names of your beloved dead) sits on the Lady Altar at St. Michael's Cathedral. Mass is offered for the repose of their souls throughout November.

My love urges Me to release the poor souls...I accept with highest pleasure what is offered to Me for the poor souls, for I long inexpressibly to have near Me those for whom I paid so great a price. By the prayers of thy loving soul, I am induced to free a prisoner from purgatory as often as thou dost move thy tongue to utter a word of prayer! 
    – Jesus in a vision of St. Gertrude the Great

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

St. Martin of Tours: Patron of Soldiers

Two souls kneel in prayer next to the Remembrance Day flowers in St. Michael's Cathedral.

Lord, if your people still have need of my services, I will not avoid the toil. Your will be done. I have fought the good fight long enough. Yet if you bid me continue to hold the battle line in defense of your camp, I will never beg to be excused from failing strength. I will do the work you entrust to me. While you command, I will fight beneath your banner. Amen.
                     - St. Martin of Tours


Monday, November 8, 2010

On the Feast of Blessed John Duns Scotus

An image of Our Blessed Mother in a stained glass window in the choir of St. Michael's Cathedral.

Allow me to praise You, O Most Holy Virgin; give me strength against your enemies. 
– Blessed John Duns Scotus

Sunday, November 7, 2010

For An Altar Server

An adorable little stool for an altar server next to the credence table in St. Michael's Cathedral.

To be Christ's page at the altar,

To serve Him freely there,

Where even angels falter,

Bowed low in reverent prayer...

...No grander mission surely

Could saints or men enjoy:

No heart should love more purely,

Than yours who serve with joy.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Glory to God

A stained glass window in St. John's Chapel at St. Michael's Cathedral.

The last words of St. John Chrysostom: 
Glory to God for all things.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Team Spirit

A parishioner with the Vatican flag at the back of St. Michael's Cathedral.

The sovereign territory of the Holy See and the home of the vicar of Christ and successor of St. Peter: Pope Benedict XVI. Go Vatican!  

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

All Souls' Day

A grave marker for Richard and Mary Brown in the basement crypt of St. Michael's Cathedral.

If these two are in heaven they don’t need our prayers.  They pray for us.  But if they are Poor Souls in Purgatory they can do nothing for themselves and need your love.  Why not use St. Gertrude the Great’s prayer:

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for all sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saints' Day

A painting of the Canadian martyrs in the nave of St. Michael's Cathedral.  The frame was made from parts of the old reredos.

After Noon today, and until Midnight tomorrow, a person who has been to confession and Communion can gain a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions, for the poor souls in Purgatory each time he visits a church or public oratory and recites the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Glory be to the Father six times. This is a special exception to the ordinary law of the Church according to which a plenary indulgence for the same work can be gained only once a day.

Why not celebrate All Saints' Day by helping make some new saints? Oh think how gladly they shall return your kindness when they reach heaven on the wings of your prayers!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Make the Earth Resound

A speaker outside St. Michael's Cathedral.

A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful who piously recite the Act of Dedication of the Human Race to Jesus Christ King on the feast of our Lord Jesus Christ King:

Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before you. We are yours, and yours we wish to be; but to be more surely united with you, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to your Most Sacred Heart. Many indeed have never known you; many, too, despising your precepts, have rejected you. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to your Sacred Heart. Be King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken you, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned you; grant that they may quickly return to their Father's house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger. Be King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and the unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd. Grant, O Lord, to your Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give tranquility of order to all nations; make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honor for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

History and Providence

Historic photo of St. Michael's Cathedral and Metropolitan United.

How plainly visible is Providence in the history of my soul and of my life! It must be the same for all, if one knows how to discern its beneficent action; when I look back, in spite of misfortunes and tears, I can only bless and adore. I begin this new period of life – long or short, calm or sorrowful, according to God’s will – with these words from the depths of my soul: I believe, I adore, I hope. 
            – Servant of God, Elisabeth Leseur