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

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Keepin' It Real

At centre of the window hangs the galero which was conferred by Pope Pius XII on His Eminence, James Charles McGuigan in 1946.

On 23 June, 1273, Bonaventure was created Cardinal by Gregory X. The pope’s envoys who brought him his galero found the saint washing dishes outside the convent and were requested by him to hang it on a tree nearby until his hands were free to take it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Flowers of My Desires and Good Will

A detail of a mosaic from the Lady altar in St. Michael's Cathedral.

If it is Your will that throughout my whole life, I would feel a repugnance to suffering and humiliation, or [if it is your will to] permit all the flowers of my desires and good will to fall to the ground without producing any fruit, I shall not be disturbed. In the twinkling of an eye, at the moment of death, You will cause rich fruits to ripen on the tree of my soul. 
               - St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Daily Mass

Parishioners leaving St. Michael's Cathedral after Mass.

But the chief aim of our efforts must be that the frequent reception of the Eucharist may be everywhere revived among Catholic peoples. . . For the soul, like the body, needs frequent nourishment; and the Holy Eucharist provides that food which is best adapted to the support of its life. 
               – St. Pius X

Thursday, October 21, 2010


A garbage can in the front courtyard of St. Michael's Cathedral.

One hears an awful lot of blasphemous garbage these days, on the subway, on tv, in casual conversation... What to do?

Make a little cell in your heart for Jesus of the Agony; take refuge there, when you hear Him outraged by men, try to make reparation; you, at least, love Him and keep your heart quite pure for Him. Oh! If you only knew how the good God loves pure hearts! It is there that He loves to reign. 
          – Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Pinnacle of Love

The architects' drawings for the completion of the pinnacles of St. Michael's Cathedral, dated December 28th, 1865.  credit

We see the free will of Christ Who in obedience to the will of the Father offered Himself for love. It is in this obedience to the Father that Jesus fulfils His own freedom, as an informed choice motivated by love...It may seem a paradox, but the high point of the Lord's freedom was on the cross: the pinnacle of love. On Calvary they cried: 'If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!' Yet He demonstrated His remaining on that scaffold to fulfill the Father's merciful will. 
                  – Pope Benedict XVI

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Catholic Lily

The fleur de lis on the wall of the narthex of St. Michael's Cathedral. As a Christian symbol, the fleur de lis is associated strongly with Mary, purity, and chastity.

I would that the whole world knew you and acknowledged you as being that beautiful Dawn which was always illumined with divine light; as that chosen Ark of salvation, free from the common shipwreck of sin; that perfect and immaculate Dove which your divine Spouse declared you to be...and finally, as that white Lily, which you are...
                    – St. Alphonsus Liguori to Mary

Monday, October 18, 2010

Feast of St. Luke

A window of St. Michael's Cathedral through which the dawn light streams at morning Mass.

In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us. To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace. 
                          – Luke 1:78-9

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Most Holy Trinity

A quaint trefoil window in the old sacristy of St. Michael's Cathedral.  The trefoil is a common symbol of the Trinity.

O eternal Trinity, You are a deep sea in which the more I seek the more I find, and the more I find, the more I seek to know You. You fill us insatiably, because the soul, before the abyss which You are, is always famished; and hungering for You, O eternal Trinity, it desires to behold truth in Your light. As the thirsty heart pants after the fount of living water, so does my soul long to leave this gloomy body and see You as You are, in truth. 
               - St. Catherine of Siena

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Feast of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

A statue of Our Lord and His Divine Heart in St. John's Chapel at St. Michael's Cathedral.

The Divine Heart is an ocean full of all good things, wherein poor souls can cast all their needs; it is an ocean full of joy to drown all our sadness, an ocean of humility to drown our folly, an ocean of mercy to those in distress, an ocean of love in which to submerge our poverty.
                    - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Our Only Hope

An altar cross from 1858 in the sacristy of St. Michael's Cathedral.

O Crux ave, spes unica...piis adauge gratiam...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Ugliness of Sin

A delightfully ugly little gargoyle on the side of St. Michael's Cathedral.

My soul will grind under the weight of its infidelities towards the Author of life. I know that no one is clean before the Lord, but my uncleanness has no limits in front of Him. In the present state in which the merciful God, in His wisdom and justice, is deigning to lift the veil and manifest to me the hidden faults, in all their maliciousness and ugliness, I see myself so deformed that my very same vestments seem to me to have the horror of my filth. 
                  – St. Padre Pio

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


An angel moves the sun in the mural at the Lady altar at St. Michael's Cathedral.

Let us affectionately love His angels as counselors and defenders appointed by the Father and placed over us. They are faithful; they are prudent; they are powerful; Let us only follow them, let us remain close to them, and in the protection of the God of Heaven let us abide. 
                       - St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Getting to Mass

A parishioner's bicycle outside St. Michael's Cathedral.

Blessed Charles the Good (d. 1127) used to walk to Mass barefoot every day as a penance; So did St. Hedwig (d. 1243) and through the snow!  Get to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Dear Hearts, however you get there.  It’s the joyful obligation of every Catholic under canon law.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Drop by Drop

Detail of a chalice at St. Michael's Cathedral.  photo credit

How is it that we do not die of love in seeing that God Himself could do no more than shed His divine blood for us drop by drop? When as man He was preparing for death, He made Himself our food in order to give us life. God becomes food, bread for his creatures. Is this not enough to make us die of love? 
             – St. Teresa (Juanita) de los Andes

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bishops: Supreme Among Men

The mitre of the late Emmet Cardinal Carter.  photo credit

But, dear reader, I reply with Saint Denis that the task of leading souls towards perfection appertains above all others to Bishops, and that because their Order is supreme among men, as the Seraphim among Angels,  therefore their leisure cannot be better spent. 
                          – St. Francis de Sales

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mother Mary: An Abiding Anchor

An anchor in a stained glass window in the narthex of St. Michael's Cathedral.

We fasten our souls to Your hope, as to an abiding anchor. It is to Her that the saints who have saved themselves have been the most attached and have done their best to attach others, in order to persevere in virtue. Happy, then, a thousand times happy, are the Christians who are now fastened faithfully and entirely to Her, as to a firm anchor! 
                       – St. Louis Marie de Montfort

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Stormy World

Storm clouds gathering behind St. Michael's Cathedral.

Rejoice, my dearest brothers, because you are blessed and because of the bountiful hand of God's grace upon you. Rejoice, because you have escaped the various dangers and shipwrecks of the stormy world. Rejoice because you have reached the quiet and safe anchorage of a secret harbor. Many wish to come into this port, and many make great efforts to do so, yet do not achieve it. Indeed many, after reaching it, have been thrust out, since it was not granted them from above. By your work you show what you love and what you know. When you observe true obedience with prudence and enthusiasm, it is clear that you wisely pick the most delightful and nourishing fruit of divine Scripture. 
                        – St. Bruno to Carthusians

Monday, October 4, 2010


A burning candle hangs before the Marian shrine in St. Michael's Cathedral.

 My Lord Jesus Christ, I pray You to grant me two graces before I die: the first is that during my life I may feel in my soul and in my body, as much as possible, that pain which You, dear Jesus, sustained in the hour of Your most bitter Passion. The second is that I may feel in my heart, as much as possible, that excessive love with which You, O Son of God, were inflamed in willingly enduring such suffering for us sinners.  – St. Francis of Assisi