Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pray For Sisters

A marker from the crypt of St. Michael's Cathedral.

Migravit ad sponsum
11° APRILIS 1849

Migravit ad sponsum – what a precious way to put it.  Religious do not have biological children to pray for the repose of their souls. Lucky for us they do have spiritual children, so get praying. If Sister is already with her Divine Spouse, she doesn't need your prayers but prays for you. Communion of saints, People. Communion. Of. Saints.

Friday, July 30, 2010

St. John

A statue of St. John in the altar to the Sacred Heart at St. Michael's Cathedral.

The beloved disciple. He took part in the Last Supper. Standing at the foot of the cross, he was made guardian of Our Lady by Jesus himself. Upon hearing of the Resurrection, he was the first to reach the tomb. When he met the risen Lord at the lake of Tiberias, John was the first to recognize Him.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fair as the Moon

A panel of the painted ceiling of St. Michael's Cathedral.

Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array?

Why aren't you in the Legion of Mary anyway?  
Come on. You know you wanna.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

St. Edwin of Northumbria

The likeness of St. Edwin of Northumbria on the exterior of St. Michael's Cathedral.

St. King Edwin of Northumbria was converted by St. Paulinus whose likeness is on the other side of the main doors of St. Michael’s Cathedral. After his baptism the king entertained Paulinus for five weeks at the royal villa where Paulinus was occupied from morning to night instructing and baptizing the crowds that flocked to him. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

St. Michael's Restoration Fund

A sign reminding parishioners of the St. Michael's Cathedral Restoration Fund.

As a protestant I was always impressed with the dignity and beauty of Catholic Cathedrals.  So I’m not too proud to beg: for love of souls give something to the St. Michael’s Cathedral Restoration Fund. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ecce Agnus Dei

A crest in St. John's Chapel depicting the victorious Lamb of God.

John saw Jesus coming to him, and he saith, Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who taketh away the sin of the world.  – John 1:29

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Our Lady Gate of Heaven

Detail of mural by Vaclav Vaca at the Lady altar in St. Michael's Cathedral. Our Lady is here identified under the devotional title: The Gate of Heaven.

Gentle Mother of God, full of grace, the Door of Heaven that is always open, through you may the eyes of God rest upon us.

Ianua Coeli, ora pro nobis.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The likeness of Bishop Armand Francois Marie de Charbonnel, P.S.S. hangs in the sacristy of St. Michael's Cathedral.

de Charbonnel was consecrated Toronto’s second bishop by Pope Pius IX in the Sistine Chapel on May 26, 1850.

A Frenchman and a Sulpician, he doubled the number of priests and parishes in Toronto, introduced several religious orders to the diocese, and used his personal funds to pay off the Cathedral’s debts.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Question the Beauty

St. Michael's Cathedral.  credit

Question the beauty of the earth, the sea, the air distending and diffusing itself, the sky, question all these realities. All respond: "See, we are beautiful." These beauties are subject to change. Who made them if not the Beautiful One who is not subject to change?    
                                  - Saint Augustine

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Gift of Chains

A chain hangs on the gate outside St. Michael's Cathedral.

St. John Chrysostom on St. Paul’s chains:

No glittering diadem so adorns the head as a chain borne for Christ. Were the choice offered me either of heaven or of this chain suffered for Christ, I would take the chain. If I might have stood with the angels above, near the throne of God, or have been bound with Paul, I should have preferred the dungeon. Had you rather been the angel loosing Peter or Peter in chains? I would rather have been Peter. The gift of chains is something greater than power to stop the sun, to move the world, or to command the devils.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

God the Father (right), God the Son (left), and God the Holy Spirit (in form of a dove) crown the Blessed Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven while angels adore in a stained glass window of St. Michael's Cathedral.

What tongue could worthily describe Mary’s triumphant entry into heaven?  If the triumphs prepared here below arouse such admiration and great enthusiasm that they attract many people to contemplate them, what can be said of the triumph prepared by God Himself for His mother?   
                                       - St. Padre Pio

Monday, July 19, 2010


A panel of the painted ceiling of St. Michael's Cathedral depicting a griffin.

The griffin which is both lion and eagle is, among other things, a symbol of the hypostatic union. 

Christ: fully human, fully divine.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Reflect with the Ancients on the Power of a Name

At the back of the nave in St. Michael's Cathedral.
Still don’t read Ancient Greek? Hang your head in shame. Then read the translation in the Palatine Anthology 1.32.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

At Her Feet

This large statue of Our Lady with her hands folded and head bowed in prayer stands in the sacristy of St. Michael's Cathedral. Its placement means that Our Blessed Mother must be the very last thing Father sees before exiting the sacristy to say Holy Mass.

Ah! Queen most worthy of love, I desire to love you in heaven.  There, at your feet, I shall better know how worthy you are of love, how much you have done to save me; and thus I shall love you with greater love, and love you eternally, without fear of ever ceasing to love you.  O Mary, I hope most certainly to be saved by your means.  Pray to Jesus for me.   
                            – St. Alphonsus Liguori

Friday, July 16, 2010


Note the Passionist symbol on his holy habit: a heart with three nails at the bottom, the words "Jesu XPI Passio", topped with a cross. Oh to wear the Holy Name over a consecrated heart!

While walking I was recollected in prayer: when I turned the corner to go home I was raised up by God to the heights of recollection to the point of forgetting everything else and sensed an interior sweetness: it was at this moment that I saw myself, in spirit, vested in black from head to toe, with a white cross on my breast and under the cross the Most Holy name of Jesus in white letters.      – St. Paul of the Cross

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Rome-ward Bound

Yours truly shall shortly be in the centre of the Catholic world and shall remember your intentions before the Blessed Sacrament in St. Peter’s Basilica.  Don’t worry, Dear Hearts, I have set up automatic posts in advance, lest you suffer without your daily dose of St. Michael’s Cathedral...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Rose of Charity

A rose adorns the area above the crown molding in St. John's Chapel at St. Michael's Cathedral.

Thou art the box of holy perfumes, O Mary, gathered by the heavenly Perfumer, delightfully blooming with the beautiful flowers of every virtue, among which three are excellent above all, the violet of humility, the lily of chastity, and the rose of charity.                                           – St. Bernard

Monday, July 12, 2010

Under the Protection of Mary

A side window beside the Marian altar in St. Michael's Cathedral.

The letters A and M superimposed stand for Auspice Maria.  Where could we refuse to go with Mary as our guide

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Divine Lamb

A panel of the painted ceiling of St. Michael's Cathedral depicting a lamb atop a book. Christ is the Word and the Lamb.

To prepare oneself constantly for martyrdom, and accept it without a shadow of reluctance, like the Divine Lamb - in Jesus, through Jesus, for Jesus - I must try and live as if I were to die a martyr today.  Every minute I must imagine I am going to be martyred this very evening.
               - Blessed Charles de Foucauld

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ever Ancient Ever New

Metropolitan Methodist in foreground and St. Michael's Cathedral in background circa 1890.

It is of the new things that men tire - of fashions and proposals and improvements and change. It is the old things that startle and intoxicate. It is the old things that are young.          - G. K. Chesterton

Friday, July 9, 2010

Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

The sixth station of the Cross hangs in St. Michael's Cathedral.

My most beloved Jesus, Thy face was beautiful before, but in this journey it has lost all its beauty, and wounds and blood have disfigured it. Alas! my soul also was once beautiful, when it received Thy grace in Baptism; but I have disfigured it since by my sins. Thou alone, my Redeemer, canst restore it to its former beauty...
                          - St. Alphonsus Liguori

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Crosier

Most Reverend William McGrattan, Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto offers a blessing outside St. Michael's Cathedral.

A Bishop’s crosier is a beautiful symbol of his role as the spiritual shepherd of a flock.  His Excellency’s crosier has a crook at the top (to draw stray sheep back to the spiritual fold) and a ferrule at the bottom (to goad the spiritually lazy and beat back the dangerous wolves). Note the position of the crook which is always held away from himself and toward the persons or objects which he is facing.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


A hand-sanitizing station in the narthex of St. Michael's Cathedral.  It is just steps from the vital soul-sanitizing station inside.

How far the unhappy human race has strayed from the path of Christian purity!  

St. Maria Goretti, child martyr, pray for us on your feast day!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Good St. Anne

A statue of St. Anne looking lovingly at her child Mary in St. Michael's Cathedral.

St. Anne the mother of Our Lady, the grandmother of Our Lord.

While leading a devout and holy life in your human nature, you gave birth to a daughter nobler than the angels, whose queen she now is.
        - Saint John Damascene to St. Anne

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Stain Removal

The faucet and window sill in the sacristy of St. Michael's Cathedral.

The sign next to the sink reads:



Saturday, July 3, 2010

Light of Christ

A candle on the painted ceiling of St. Michael's Cathedral.

Lumen Christi gloriose resurgentis
Dissipet tenebras cordis et mentis.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross

The fifth station of the Cross hangs high in St. Michael's Cathedral.

My most sweet Jesus, I will not refuse the cross as the Cyrenian did; I accept it, I embrace it. I accept in particular the death that Thou hast destined for me with all the pains which may accompany it; I unite it to Thy death, I offer it to Thee. Thou has died for love of me, I will die for love of Thee, and to please Thee...Grant that I may love Thee always, and then do with me what Thou wilt.  
                       - St. Alphonsus Liguori

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dominion Day

Painting of Archbishop John Joseph Lynch, third Bishop and first Archbishop of Toronto, hangs in the sacristy of St. Michael's Cathedral.

When Canada was born on July 1, 1867 Bishop John Joseph Lynch was reigning over the Diocese of Toronto.  Three years later during Vatican Council I the diocese was raised to an archbishopric by Pope Pius IX and Bishop Lynch became Archbishop Lynch.