COVID-19 update: Ottawa community

As the local Superior I would like to update everyone regarding the Ottawa community’s response to “Covid-living.” I would like to start off by saying that we are all still reasonably civil with one another after 2 months of being “cooped up.”

I am the only member of the local community who is presently working during the pandemic. As a front line worker at the Perley Rideau Veterans Health Centre, I am not really in a position to stay home. In fact, I believe my presence there is arguably more important than ever! We had a discussion among the members of the Ottawa community about me continuing to work during these difficult days. I assured them that their welfare is of primary concern to me and that I would do nothing to compromise their health. I take extreme precautions when I go to work and spend most of my time in my office talking on the phone with people I cannot presently visit (Perley residents, volunteers and other LTC residents to whom I minister). I continue to preside at the Thursday and Sunday Eucharist albeit with only 2 or 3 staff members present. Other community members are also doing some ministry over the phone or electronically.

I have been tested twice for covid-19 with another test to follow soon. Although we have had several residents and staff members who have contracted the virus, we are almost a week without any new cases and several residents have recovered and have been removed from the isolation unit back to their own units and infected staff members are returning to work. I think most of us who work at the Perley feel very safe as every precaution available is being taken to ensure our safety.

The members of the local community are certainly spending more time together

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Preparation for a dream garden … Peter’s flowers awaiting in the basement.

than is normally the case. Everyone is present for the evening meal and I must say we have had some wonderful meals. Even as I write Peter is in the kitchen busily and lovingly preparing what will be the latest of many gourmet meals. I have resumed baking pies (coconut cream tonight) and John has recently taken up this skill. We had a delicious fruit pie yesterday using John’s (with a little help from Lily and me) first attempt at original pie crust.

While none of us can take part in any of our usual outside activities we all remain physically active walking and/or cycling and trying to keep the house reasonably clean without Brenda (our wonderful housekeeper). Fr. Paulin in particular has worked very hard in keeping the common areas clean.

We continue to hold our weekly community meetings and are finding other opportunities (other than just at Morning Prayer and Eucharist) to spend time together. Some of us gather daily after the evening meal in the parlour to sit around and chat.

Overall I would say that we are handling the situation quite well. I am thankful that we are all in reasonably good health-physically and emotionally. I think for the most part we have made the best of a very difficult situation and are looking forward to soon being able to resume some of our regular activities-golfing, hiking, swimming.

I would be remiss if I failed to thank Lily Ooi for her presence and generosity during this long period of isolation. She has had no close contact with any others than those of us who reside at 192 Daly. I know she deeply misses seeing her family. She has taken on the job of grocery shopping (along with Fr. Bill) and producing many of the gourmet meals I alluded to earlier. Along with John and Paulin she has cleaned up the yard and planted flowers and vegetables.

In this time of upheaval and uncertainty let us pray for all victims of this pandemic; those who have died, those who have suffered emotionally, physically, spiritually and/or financially and a return to a somewhat normal life in the not too distant future.

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Montréal pendant la COVID-19 (2)

La communauté de Montréal continue de vivre sous un régime de confinement dû à la COVID-19. Les membres de la communauté s’abstiennent de fréquenter les lieux publics, sauf en cas de nécessité (épicerie, pharmacie). Depuis vendredi dernier, les20200510_154046 autorités sanitaires du Nord-de-l’Île de Montréal appellent quotidiennement pour s’enquérir de la situation chez nous et d’éventuels besoins que nous pourrions avoir. Le P. Gustave communique régulièrement avec les PP. Roger et Richard qui vivent leur confinement dans leurs résidences respectives, ainsi qu’avec les communautés e Toronto et d’Ottawa. Le P. Louis-Marie et ses deux vicaires (les PP. Greg et Gustave) ont régulièrement des entretiens téléphoniques avec des paroissiens qui cherchent des conseils ou du réconfort dans la situation actuelle. Le P. Claude, notre artiste-maison, a entrepris de représenter en figurines de papier mâché les six membres de la communauté résidant à Montréal dans leurs activités. Le Fr. Dieudonné a repris son rôle de commissionnaire après quelques semaines de convalescence suite à son opération chirurgicale. Le P. Greg occupe une partie de son temps pour l’entretien des terrains extérieurs et le P. Maurice assure le service de la cuisine le soir et les week-ends et supervise les rénovations dans notre maison de la rue Boismenu. Nos deux employées, Linda (notre cuisinière) et Nicole (la procureure des missions) ont des heures réduites en raison de la pandémie. Ce dimanche, 10 mai, la communauté congolaise d’Ottawa a demandé au P. Gustave de présider la messe dominicale, ce qu’il a fait depuis notre chapelle, utilisant l’application ZOOM pour la diffuser en direct au profit de quelques dizaines de participants (notre photo). Bien sûr, nous avons hâte que tout revienne à la normale, mais nous bénissons le Seigneur de nous avoir jusqu’à présent préservés de cette maladie, et nous prions quotidiennement pour tous ceux et celles qui y sont confrontés directement ou indirectement.

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P. Antoine Santegoeds SCJ 1929-2020

Jeudi, 30 avril 2020, à Parc Zuiderhout, Teteringen, noA. Santegoedstre ex-confrère du Québec, P. Antoine Santegoeds, SCJ, est décédé des suites de la COVID-19. Né à Asten, le 11 janvier 1929, il a fait sa première profession le 8 septembre 1952 et a été ordonné le 21 juillet 1957 à Nijmegen.

De nombreuses histoires reviennent à la mémoire quand nous nous rappelons la vie et les activités d’Antoine. Il était reconnu pour sa collection de vieux journaux et sa passion pour les livres et les photos. Toute sa vie, Antoine a aimé les études académiques. Il vous parlait avec grand plaisir du dernier livre de théologie ou de philosophie qu’il avait lu. Il aimait transmettre ses connaissances dans son travail, autant comme enseignant que comme pasteur. Après avoir enseigné la philosophie à Liesbosch pendant un an, il vint au Canada en 1959. Il devint membre de la Province canadienne-française lors de son érection en 1962. Il y resta jusqu’en 1985. Au Canada, il a suivi plusieurs cours universitaires en vue d’enseigner à Pointe-au-Chêne. Les confrères qui l’ont connu se rappelleront que son Mémoire de maîtrise es-Arts portait sur « Paul Ricoeur et le péché originel » (1976). Il a aussi travaillé dans plusieurs paroisses : Saint-Antoine-Marie-Claret, à Montréal, Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire, à Pointe-au-Chêne où il a gardé contact avec plusieurs paroissiens après son retour aux Pays-Bas, et d’autres paroisses des environs. En 1985, en partie pour des raisons de santé et aussi pour des raisons familiales, il est retourné aux Pays-Bas. Pendant dix ans, il a été curé de notre paroisse à Made, où son travail a été très apprécié. De 1995 à 2016, il a vécu et travaillé au Limburg dans un institut de soins prolongés à Maastricht et Magraten, et il a assuré le lien avec les confrères travaillant dans cette partie des Pays-Bas. En 2016, Antoine a déménagé dans notre maison de retraite à Asten. Deux ans plus tard, avec les autres confrères, il a quitté Asten pour Teteringen. Ce qui l’attristait était de ne plus pouvoir poursuivre son travail et de devoir quitter sa chère bibliothèque. Mais il pouvait se consoler en se rappelant d’une vie marquée par son engagement et son souci des autres.

Les funérailles d’Antoine se limiteront à son inhumation à Breda. Un petit nombre de personnes seulement pourront participer à ce dernier adieu à Antoine, à cause des restrictions imposées suite à la pandémie de COVID-19. Plus tard, lorsque les rassemblement à l’église seront à nouveau possibles, une célébration plus large aura lieu en sa mémoire. Nous gardons Antoine Santegoeds dans nos prières.

 

 

On Thursday April 30 2020 in park Zuiderhout in Teteringen our ex-confrere from the Québec Province Fr. Antoine Santegoeds, SCJ died as a consequence of the Coronavirus. He was born in Asten, the Netherlands on January 11, 1929, professed on September 8, 1952 and ordained on July 21, 1957 in Nijmegen.

Many are the stories recalling the life and activities of Antoine. He became well known for his collection of old newspapers but also of his love of books and photos. Antoine loved academic studies his whole life. He would tell you with great relish the latest philosophical and theological books that he was reading. He liked to use his knowledge for his work both as a teacher and as a pastor. After he had taught philosophy in Liesbosch for one year, in 1959 he came to Canada. He became a member of the French-Canadian Province when it was erected in 1962. He remained in Canada until 1985. Also in Canada he followed a great number of university courses in order to be able to teach in Pointe-au-Chêne. He also worked in a number of parishes near the Séminaire du Sacré-Coeur. In 1985 – partially because of his health – he returned to the Netherlands. For ten years he was a parish priest in our parish in Made where he was much appreciated for his work. From 1995 to 2016 he lived and worked in Limburg in a long-term-care home in Maastricht and Magraten and was the contact person for the confreres who worked in that area of the Netherlands. In 2016 Antoine moved to our retirement house in Asten. Two years later he left from there with the other confreres to Teteringen. He was much saddened by the fact that he could not longer continue his work and that he had to leave his beloved library. But he could look back to a life of great commitment and care for others.

The funeral of Antoine will be limited to his burial in Breda. It is unfortunate that only a very small  number of people will be able to participate in the farewell of Antoine because of the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. At a later date, when church gatherings will be possible again, there will be a more extensive memorial. We keep Antoine Santegoeds in our prayers.

later he left from there with the other confreres to Teteringen. He was much saddened by the fact that he could not longer continue his work and that he had to leave his beloved library. But he could look back to a life of great commitment and care for others.

The funeral of Antoine will be limited to his burial in Breda. It is unfortunate that only a very small  number of people will be able to participate in the farewell of Antoine because of the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. At a later date, when church gatherings will be possible again, there will be a more extensive memorial. We keep Antoine Santegoeds in our prayers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Regional Council during COVID-19

The Regional Council held a teleconference meeting on April 14, 2020, the Tuesday of Easter week. Canada has been in a virtual lockdown since March 13 so a face-to-face meeting was not possible. The meeting was called by Fr. Gustave Lulendo to deal with a number of topics of a more immediate concern.

As usual the meeting started with a review of community life in the three communities starting with Toronto, followed by Ottawa and Montréal.

  1. Toronto

Yuliwan talked about the community schedule during the COVID – 19 pandemic. Everyone is home and sharing the work of cooking and cleaning. All the Holy Week celebrations were celebrated together and the presidencies at the services were shared. The members also keep up their physical exercises. At St Thomas More the services were held in an empty church and life-streamed. The High Park and Thomas More houses held a community meeting using Zoom and shared their experiences during the isolation. The two students Fr. Petrus Murwanto and Fr. Willyans Prado Rapozo are keeping up their studies on-line. Fr. Petrus Murwanto has just finished his English course, he got A-. However, not all the research materials have been available for him to continue the MA Program in education, so OISE proposed that he do the MEd Program instead. Fr. Yuliwan Maslim has tried to stay in touch with the Indonesian community and has held virtual meetings with the community. The isolation imposed by provincial and national governments have allowed the community to spend more time together for prayer and communal activities.

2.   Ottawa

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A candle lit for all the people affected by COVID-19

Everyone is in good physical health but emotionally the community is feeling the effects of the isolation measures. Fr. Elie Muzungu has self-isolated and has not been able to partake in the community activities. Fr. Paul Tennyson is still going to the Rideau- Perley. When entering the hospital, he has to undergo the daily checking of temperature and respond to questions regarding his health and activities. He has presided over a few funerals, but these have been only grave-side burials with a limited number of people present. He has held some services at the Rideau-Perley but with the presence of a very limited number of people. There have not been any cases of the coronavirus at the facility (although on April 20 seven staff persons and a few days later a number of residents have shown to be positive. As a consequence, Fr. Paul’s continued presence at the hospital will have to be re-examined.) The community members at Daly are continuing to do physical exercises mostly through walking. Holy Week was celebrated in house with different members of the community presiding. Lily Ooi has been doing most of the grocery shopping and has taken on a great deal of the meal preparation. It is very stressful to stay away two meters away from people.

3.  Montreal

Dieudonné Tchouteu is doing ok after his prostate cancer operation. He has just been declared free of cancer. Everyone else in the community is doing fine. The Lenten retreat which the community had organized could not take place because of the isolation measures. It was replaced with a more intense community meeting. Also, in Montréal the community members took turns presiding at the Holy Week celebrations. The Easter meal (lamb) was a great success. Because of the pandemic, the pastoral team at the parish had to stay at home and will also not be receiving their salaries. In Montréal it was not possible to hold live-stream masses. The Churches are locked. There have been no funerals, no weddings, no contacts except virtually with the parishioners. The Unité pastoral does not have a website. Hence, at present, the members do not have outside pastoral activities. Maurice Légaré has been doing the groceries. Dieudonné also helps and continues his work in finances. Everyone is at home. Linda still prepares lunch (9:30 – 1) Maurice takes care of the other meals. Nicole Béland has been working from home but comes in from time to time to take care of mail. Roger Phaneuf has been isolated in his room at Residence Angus and eats his meals there. He celebrates Eucharist in his apartment.

Richard Woodbury has continued to live alone at the Séminaire and has been finding it very difficult. On Saturday he called his psychiatrist to help him deal with the isolation. The psychiatrist assured him that it was normal in these circumstances. He is basically alone in his house. He once tried to go out to get a newspaper, but was warned that he should stay inside. He finds it very difficult to be that isolated. He tries the stay in touch with the community in Montreal. He has established a telephone ministry during this time, sharing with his parishioners the common concern about the situation. During holy week he printed the liturgy booklet Prions l’Eglise and left copies at the door of the parishioners. The situation of the Séminaire: the school will not be reimbursed for April and May, there will be no salaries and no subsidy for meals and travel. Robert Laurin, the chaplain, created a video of the teachers from the school to the students and parents. It was very upbeat.

4.  Activities of the Regional Superior:

  • Gustave conducted a visitation of the Ottawa community in the beginning of March. The service of leadership of Paul Tennyson has been much appreciated. The Wednesday meetings of the community continue to be a good experience. On March 6, Fr. Gustave had a meeting with Archbishop Prendergast of Ottawa to discuss with him the position of Fr. Elie Muzungu at Frère André. He was assured that the ministry at the parish in Vanier will continue.
  • The request of Fr. Martin Kadamattu. Fr. Gustave Lulendo received a letter from Fr. Martin with the request to become a member of the Canadian Region. The request has been accepted by the Council. In the meantime, the District of India as well as the General Administration has accepted the request. Fr. Martin is now a member of the Region of Canada.
  • Letter of Fr. Greg Murray. Fr. Gustave Lulendo also received a letter from Fr. Greg Murray in which he asked to return to the Ottawa community. Fr. Gustave approached Archbishop Prendergast for a possible position within the Archdiocese. Council approved the request and Fr. Greg will come to Ottawa after the summer.
  • Approval of the budget of the Migration Committee: Fr. Peter McKenna sent in a proposal for the budget of the Migration Committee. The budget was accepted by Council. Council also expressed a high appreciation of his work.
  • The celebration of the feast of the Sacred Heart. The Regional Community was to gather at Dehon House in Ottawa for the June 17th Because of the COVID-19 pandemic it is impossible at the moment to predict whether the effects of the pandemic will have mitigated. Council found that we should avoid compromising the health of our older members unless it is clear that by June the virus will have run its course. A decision will be made by May 15.
  • The General Visitation of General Superior and the Regional Assembly in August.  Here the same question as for the communal celebration of the feast of the Sacred Heart was raised. If COVID-19 is no longer a threat the assembly in Arnprior will take place. A decision will be made by June 15. If the assembly has to be postponed, we could hold an assembly when it is safe to hold an assembly.

5. Finances

Fr. Paul Tennyson had sent an earlier email regarding our finances in view of the financial downturn caused by COVID-19. He reported that the financial downturn had affected us but not as seriously as the financial markets (-22%). The SCJ Canada Foundation decreased by 5.7%; the Prêtres du Sacré-Coeur Inc. went down by 2.12%. The Mission Office has also been affected by the financial downturn. Nicole Béland will be asked to give a report to Paul Tennyson and Jim Casper regarding the decrease of income and the situation of the different projects. Since the Montréal community was not receiving the salaries from the parishes, they will be receiving the subsidy which the government of Canada provided during the pandemic. Fr. Richard Woodbury mentioned that it was not clear how the parish would be able to pay the heating bill for the Church in Grenville.

Council also allocated $ 7.000 for the repair of the roof of our house on Boismenu in Montréal. Council also learned that the rental of Maison Dehon has not yet taken place.

6. Leopold Mfouakouet of Cameroon who was to come to Canada for a sabbatical year has obtained his Canadian visa but was not able to come because all Canadian airports have been closed to non-Canadians during the pandemic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome, Fr. Martin!

The Superior General of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, considering the request of the religious; and  having the consent of the Superiors involved; according to n. 100,9 of the General Directory;20190815_114754
transfers
Fr. Martin Kadamattu Antony
from the Indian District to the Region of Canada.

The transfer becomes effective as of April 19, 2020.
Given in Rome, at the General Curia, on April 17, 2020.

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Walking with Covid-19 in Toronto

Our world is changing so quickly from day to day, even hour to hour. There just seems to be plenty of bad news out there! It is likely going to worsen but we are also being awakened to some signs of hope at this time. We decided to have a more formal conversation around how each one of us is living the reality of the quarantine in response to the Coronavirus. We divided our meeting into two moments: how each one of us is living this reality and how together as a community we can continue to respond to the reality.

Highlights were focused on community life, ministry and concern for our families and for the world. April 07 marks DAY 26 of our communal quarantine for those confreres residing at the community house in High Park. One confrere shared that this Lenten period is also the time in which we travel with Jesus. He too was in quarantine for 40 days, so to speak.

In the course of the conversation, each of us shared that it is important to understand the reality that we are living, both personal, communal, social and ecclesial. We all agreed that it is important to keep ourselves informed with official information yet, recognizing that information overload is not healthy. We also noted that it is important to remember that we are not all the same and we do not respond to stressful situations in the same way. Each confrere expressed gratitude for the support he has received from the other members of the community.

Although we are one community, confreres reside in two community residences: the rectory of Thomas More and the High Park community residence. Sadness was expressed that we do not have the capacity to live this moment together as each community entered into the quarantine at different moments. We reaffirmed that it is important for us as Dehonians to pray together every morning, celebrate Eucharist daily and to pray in the evening together. Each community has found a way to do so according to their capacity. Sharing meals together, watching Jeopardy, playing “uno”, going for walks while social distancing, and watching the 10pm evening news together but even more importantly, seeing/experiencing the special care that each one of us offers to the other has certainly strengthened our bonds of Dehonian fraternity and community. We are also very conscious that thus far, during these 26 days, both Petrus and Will have been full-time students online. Both Will and Petrus expressed gratitude for the support they have received.

Ministry has been a challenge, but we are learning new ways to be present to those with whom we minister and who minister to us. Yuliwan is gathering with members of the UKI in small groups to pray together online. Peter continues to reach out to all of the refugees and volunteers connected with the ministry of Becoming Neighbours. Antonio celebrated Eucharist online with members of the Brazilian community. Aegi is offering Holy Week daily reflections online for the parishioners of Thomas More and Our Lady of Rosary. Jim will preside at an online Holy Thursday Para liturgy for those who travelled with him on the February pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Each of us expressed concern for members of our families and how we can be supportive of them as they too live this reality. Each one of us has reconnected with people living in isolation or with people with whom we have not had contact for a long time. We can be bombarded with statistics, both those who are positive with COVID-19 but the human face of this disease has hit our community very close to home. Two members of the UKI community on one of the cruise ships tested positive and we have just become aware that a family who we know very well from St. Joan of Arc parish have also tested positive. These are people that we know, whose lives have intersected with ours and ours with them.

Yet, signs of HOPE continue to show up in the most unexpected ways and moments. One confrere pointed out that the air is more clear because so few are driving vehicles. All over the country, individuals are risking their lives to help others, as we have seen with the healthcare workers, supermarket employees and other front-line workers. We have been overwhelmed with expressions of support and the offers of help at this time. Not only have individual people offered to do grocery shopping for us, but what has also been particularly overwhelming is the generosity of the members of the UKI who continue to bring donations of food to us. Our Canadian political leaders are shining examples at this time as what it means to lead with honesty interwoven with compassion. One confrere talked about how he was amazed with how his parents/grandparents came through the Great Depression. The rest of the confreres commented about how it is all beginning to make sense to us as to why Fr. George Coppens lived with a great appreciation for frugality and was an incredibly practical man.

Together we reaffirmed the following commitments to each other:
– Practicing personal hygiene
– Following protocols of health officials (e.g. sneezing/coughing into elbows, washing of hands consistently, etc.)
– Staying home
– Practicing social/physical distancing at all times
– Cleaning areas that are frequently touched (kitchen counters, doorknobs, faucets, etc.)
– Continuing to cook on designated night each week
– Continuing to enter into and celebrate the liturgical seasons
– Being more intentional in our solidarity with the more vulnerable
– Using the food that is present and more creatively using leftovers with simplicity being our guide
– Continuing to enjoy each other’s company, fraternity and being able to laugh at ourselves and our own idiosyncrasies

Ron Rolheiser, OMI, reminds us that “The coronavirus has put us all, in effect, on a conscripted sabbatical … the danger is that we will put our lives on hold as we go through this extraordinary time and will just endure rather than let ourselves be graced by what lies within this uninvited season” (LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID 19).

We concluded our time together praying: “Look with compassion on the afflicted, grant eternal rest to the dead, comfort to mourners, healing to the sick, peace to the dying, strength to health care workers, wisdom to our leaders and the courage to reach out to all in love, so that together we may give glory to your holy name.”

STAY HOME, STAY WELL AND STAY ENGAGED!

Aegi, Antonio, Jim, Martin, Peter, Petrus, Will and Yuliwan

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SCJ-Montréal et la COVID-19

La communauté de Montréal se veut solidaire du monde en cette période de pandémie que le Coronavirus nous oblige à traverser. Jusqu’à maintenant, toute la communauté se porte bien et nous rendons grâce au Seigneur de nous protéger. Dans le meilleur des mondes, nous pourrions rêver d’être des exemples d’humilité en acceptant que notre force se situe à la hauteur de notre obéissance. En effet, ce n’est pas facile pour des religieux-adultes d’accepter de se faire dicter des règles de conduite par des laïcs-spécialistes. Est-ce un relent de notre cléricalisme? C’est cependant là où nous en sommes pour le moment et notre solidarité se mesure à la prise de conscience de notre vulnérabilité et à notre obéissance aux prescriptions de nos gouvernants. Au Québec, les points de presse quotidiens du Premier ministre François Legault et du Directeur national de la santé, le Docteur Horacio Arruda, sont des messages qui calment les esprits et qui nous encadrent dans cette traversée du fléau qu’est la COVID-19.

À la maison du boulevard Gouin, les six confrère observent les règles de confinement et de distanciation physique. Nous participons tous aux exercices d’une communauté normale: prière en commun, eucharistie avec communion par intinction, adoration, repas, récréation. Maurice a organisé notre salle à manger de sorte que nous respections nos distances: les places à tables sont organisées en quinconce. C’est l’avantage d’avoir de l’espace et du mobiler adéquat. De plus, pour nous rappeler les règles courantes pour contrer le virus, des affiches qui disent “ON SE PROTÈGE” pavoisent les murs de façon régulière.

Depuis l’opération de Dieudonné, c’est Maurice qui a repris le rôle de pourvoyeur des denrées alimentaires. C’est vraiment une dure corvée surtout à cause de tout le protocole qui existe et varie selon les magasins: lavage des mains, désinfection des chariots, distanciation, etc. La plupart des magasins ont installé des vitrines en plexiglass devant les comptoirs et la caisse. Malgré tous ces inconvénients, nous ne cessons d’admirer le dévouement des personnes qui rendent possibles tous ces services.

Le bureau de la procure continue de fonctionner… à distance. Nicole vient prendre le courrier et retourne chez elle travailler “en ligne”. Notre cuisinière Linda ne peut pas faire la cuisine à distance mais Gustave lui a suggéré de quitter son poste après le dîner. Elle prend soin de préparer le souper à l’avance. Ainsi, la communauté continue à avoir ses deux repas chauds quotidiens.

Avons-nous constaté des changements dans notre comportement? J’ai remarqué que nos repas durent un peu plus longtemps que d’habitude, que nous nous efforçons de détendre l’atmosphère par des renseignements pratiques, des histoires drôles, des moqueries gentilles et inoffensives. C’est bon pour le moral.

À quelques jours de la Semaine Sainte, la COVID-19 nous permet de nous retrouver, unis les uns aux autres, unis à Dieu et à l’Église. Comme nous aurons le privilège d’avoir toutes les cérémonies de la Semaine Sainte à la maison, Gustave avait préparé des billets indiquant qui serait le célébrant principal pour chacune des journées. C’est en retournant le billet choisi que nous savions qui ferait quoi. Greg a pigé le billet du Dimanche des Rameaux et j’ai eu celui du Samedi Saint.

Sur ce. Il est temps de vous souhaiter de Joyeuses Pâques! Profitons du temps pascal pour faire éclater nos Halleluijas et aussi prenons de l’avance pour cultiver tant de fleurs qui poussent au jardin de notre coeur: la tendresse, l’amitié, la fraternité et partage et surtout notre JOIE!

JCBscj, ce 02 avril 2020.

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Waiting out COVID-19 in Ottawa

At our regular Wednesday meeting the members of the Ottawa Community reflected on how they are coping with the isolation imposed by the Corona virus.

Since March 13 the community has agreed to keep the house safe. We cancelled the gathering for Eucharist of the Sunday community. Fr. Paul Tennyson still goes to Rideau-Perley which looks like a ghost town with severe restrictions on entry and movement within the centre. He is allowed to have a Eucharist but with only five participants. And he has instructed us about the precautions in place at the hospital.

At home, we instituted a cleanliness regime. Frequent 20 second washing of hands – the length of a double happy-birthday rendition – the cleaning of kitchen counters, the frequent washing with disinfectant of all the doorknobs, fridge handles, the dishwasher, all the handles in the kitchen and an incessant washing of all dishcloths, towels, rags… Only Fr. Bill is to remove the clean dishes from the dishwasher, Fr. Paulin does the sweeping of floors since Brenda, the cleaning lady, has not been keeping the house tidy because she has too many outside contacts.

As for our coping: yes, a bit of cabin fever. A scare on Saturday evening when a street person warned us of a stranger with body tattoos prancing on our second-floor roof. In the chapel we have a memory candle to remind us of the people affected by COVID-19: the medical people, the workers at the grocery story, the people who have died, and all the people at home who worry what this virus has done to their jobs, their investments, their pensions, their income.

But, as the Dominican Timothy Radcliffe wrote last week in La Croix, “I am deeply grateful, as never before, for living in a community, so that even in this terrible time, I can leave my room and find brethren. … Millions of people are deprived of the physical closeness that we need to flourish. On the other hand, cyberspace is filled with messages expressing love and care. ‘Are you alright?’  Suddenly, when I must not touch, I am in touch with people whom I have not seen for years. Yes, there is isolation, but also a new and wide communion of those who care.”

I think all of us can agree with his experience.

Every moment of difficulty is also a moment of opportunity. We in Ottawa will keep the world and all of you in our prayers.20200329_092811

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Letter (2) from Fr. Gustave: March 22

Chers confrères,
Nous vivons une période particulière de l’histoire de l’humanité qui touche directement l’organisation de nos communautés. C’est un moment difficile qui vient nous rappeler la fragilité et le caractère temporaire de notre existence. Nous nous retrouvons totalement désarmés pour faire face à cet ennemi invisible et redoutable, mais en même temps il nous permet de redécouvrir la richesse et la beauté de certains aspects de notre vie fraternelle en communauté qui revêtaient un caractère routinier. Être confinés dans nos maisons nous permet de passer plus de temps ensemble : prier, manger, dialoguer sont autant de moments qui nous aident à resserrer nos liens de fraternité en communauté.
Ce 22 mars 2020, la Congrégation tout entière, selon l’orientation de l’Union des Supérieurs Généraux, a manifesté sa communion avec tous ceux qui sont touchés, de près ou de loin, par le Covid-19, en priant pour eux. C’est un geste de solidarité qui nous rappelle en même temps que personne n’est à l’abri de cette pandémie. C’est pour cette raison que je profite de l’occasion pour rappeler à nous tous ce que nous connaissons déjà à travers les médias, les décisions gouvernementales et ecclésiales. Nous sommes appelés à développer des mécanismes de protection pour notre propre santé et celle des autres. Réduire les contacts avec le monde extérieur à la communauté ainsi que les déplacements qui ne sont pas nécessaires tout en observant les règles d’hygiène qui sont conseillées, sont autant de moyens pour nous de contribuer à stopper la propagation de la maladie. Ce sont certes des gestes insignifiants mais qui impliquent notre responsabilité avec un impact sur notre propre vie et celle des autres.
Je termine ce petit mot fraternel en vous partageant la situation de notre confrère Dieudonné Tchouteu qui a subi l’opération chirurgicale en traitement pour son cancer de la Prostate, le mercredi 11 mars 2020. Tout s’est bien passé selon le personnel et soignant et depuis le 12 mars, le Frère a regagné la communauté où il poursuit sa convalescence, aidé par les autres membres de la communauté. Sans trop forcer, le Frère a progressivement repris ses activités dans la communauté bien qu’au ralenti et pour le moment il attend l’appel de l’hôpital pour commencer la radiothérapie, conséquente à son traitement. Nous lui souhaitons un prompt rétablissement et continuons à le porter dans nos prières.
A tous et à chacun je souhaite un bon cheminement vers Pâques que nous allons vivre dans des conditions particulières et qui probablement nous apportera des grâces particulières aussi.
In corde Jesu,
Gustave

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Letter of p. Gustave Lulendo: March 14

Chers confrères, en ce jour où nous célébrons l’anniversaire de naissance de notre Fondateur le Vénérable Père Dehon, en même temps que nous prions pour les vocations dehoniennes, je souhaite à tous une bonne fête. Que cet événement heureux nous aide à réfléchir sur notre identité comme disciples du Père Dehon lui qui nous a montré le chemin de l’amour et de la réparation comme des voies pour notre propre sanctification et celle de nos frères et sœurs.
Cette fête qui est célébrée différemment selon les entités ou dans les différentes communautés, est marquée par un événement que le monde entier est en train de vivre, appelant les uns comme les autres à plus de discernement dans les prises de position en même temps à une solidarité aux dimensions planétaires. Il s’agit du Covid-19, virus de la grande famille des maladies à Coronavirus, ce patrimoine de la médecine vétérinaire, dont la mutation dans le corps humain fait des dégâts considérables et crée des soucis réels dans notre monde depuis le mois de décembre dernier. Certains sont appelés à modifier leurs agendas pour se mettre à l’abri et éviter d’être victime ou agent de propagation de la maladie.
Dans sa lettre du 03 mars à l’occasion de la célébration de l’anniversaire de naissance du Père Dehon, le Père Général sans faire allusion directement au Covid-19, nous exhortait à prendre conscience de l’état d’âme qu’il faut former en nous et citant le Père Dehon, il nous invitait à nous approprier cette question : « Cœur de Jésus, que voulez-vous que je fasse….. » (Notes sur l’Histoire de ma Vie 5.2); je pense que chacun dans son milieu de vie doit se laisser interpeler sur son être dehonien dans le monde et dans sa communauté; repenser au sens premier de notre engagement à la vie consacrée, tout en restant attentif aux défis et aux appels de notre temps. Il s’agit là d’une responsabilité individuelle et collective pour plus de témoignage. S’engager individuellement ou collectivement pour donner une réponses aux appels du monde, est, comme le dit Mgr Christian Rodembourg, président de l’Assemblée des évêques catholiques du Québec, le signe que les chrétiens (j’ajoute les dehoniens) ont une coresponsabilité vis-à-vis du bien de l’humanité, qui passe en grande partie par la santé et le bien-être de tous.
C’est donc pour cette raison que j’invite tous les confrères de notre région, à suivre l’évolution de la situation en étant attentifs aux orientations gouvernementales et ecclésiales de nos milieux respectifs, même si ces mesures ou orientations ne rejoignent pas nos convictions personnelles et sont sujettes à discussion. Nous devons prendre ces mesures prophylactiques avec un esprit positif même si cela fait mal de voir nos Églises et autres structures de la société revoir le déroulement de leurs activités à la baisse ou littéralement les annuler. En respectant ces règles sans céder à la panique ou à l’hystérie collective, nous nous engageons à notre manière dans le combat contre ce virus, qui pour les uns est encore loin mais pour d’autres déjà dans leurs mains.
Pour le moment, l’une des mesures qui restent à mon sens la plus envisageable, reste la prévention et c’est ici que notre collaboration est mise à contribution. La prévention ne se réduit pas seulement à vider les étalages des supermarchés comme nous le remarquons ces derniers jours; se prévenir c’est avant tout se protéger et protéger les autres. Et par rapport à ceux qui sont malades, l’isolement ou la mise en quarantaine est l’une des mesures prescrites jusque-là. Nous ne devons cependant pas confondre isolement et discrimination car même dans sa propre maison, quand on est infecté on doit opter pour un isolement volontaire pour protéger les autres.
Chers confrères, face à ce phénomène planétaire, notre attitude comme dehoniens, doit être celle de la compassion, et c’est à ce titre que nous rejoindrons le Père Dehon en étant ses dignes représentants dans un monde qui attend de nous des gestes concrets d’amour, de partage et de solidarité. Pour ma part, je renvoie la visite pastorale et canonique prévue à Toronto du 15 au 20 août 2020 à une date ultérieure qui sera fixée en dialogue avec les membres de ladite communauté. Pour les confrères de Montréal, la récollection de ce lundi 16 mars 2020, aura bel et bien lieu.
A tous bonne fête de la naissance de notre Fondateur.

 

Dear Confreres: On this day when we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of our founder, Venerable Father Dehon, at the same time that we pray for Dehonian vocations, I wish you all a happy anniversary. May this happy event lead us to reflect ever more deeply on our identity as disciples of Father Dehon, he who has shown us the way of love and reparation, as pathways to our own sanctification and that of our brothers and sisters.

This anniversary, celebrated in various ways by the different entities within the congregation, takes place at a time of particular urgency for the entire world community, calling all peoples to a particular discernment of events as well as a world-wide solidarity. I speak of the growing concern over the spread of the Covid-19 virus, part of the larger family of Corona Viruses, this heritage of veterinary medicine, whose mutation in the human body has caused considerable damage and has created real concern in our world since last December. Many of us have been called to modify our plans in order to stem the spread of this disease.

In his letter of the 3rd of March, on the occasion of the celebration of the birth of Father Dehon, Father General, without explicitly referring to the Corona Virus, asked us to be especially conscious of the state of soul which we must form within ourselves; citing Father Dehon himself, he invited us to appropriate to ourselves this question: “Heart of Jesus, what do you call me to do…?” (Notes sur l’Histoire de ma Vie 5.2). I think that each one of us, in his own milieu, must allow himself to be challenged by his Dehonian presence in the world and in his own community; to re-imagine his first motivation toward the consecrated life, while always remaining aware of the challenges of our present times. This is an individual and a collective responsibility. Committing individually and collectively to respond to the calls of the world is, to quote Mgsr. Christian Rodembourg, president of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Quebec: ‘…a sign that Christians have a shared responsibility for the good of humanity, which expresses itself through the health and well-being of all.’

Therefore, it is for this reason that I invite all the confreres of our region to follow closely the evolution of the present situation and to be attentive to the governmental and ecclesial orientations of our respective milieus, even if these orientations and measures may not jibe with our own personal convictions. We must accept these cautionary measures with a positive spirit, even though it may wound us to see our churches rolling back their activities and actually cancelling the celebration of holy mass on Sunday. Respecting these measures, without ceding to panic or hysteria, we participate, in our own way, in combating this pandemic, which for some is a distant possibility, while for others is already a present reality.

At the present moment, the measure which remains the most viable in my opinion is that of prevention, and this is where our collaboration may contribute the most. Prevention cannot be reduced to merely emptying supermarket shelves, as we have see plenty of in the last few days. Prevention rather is about self-protection and the protection of others. For those who have tested positive to the virus, isolation or quarantine seems to be the best solution. We should not however confuse isolation with discrimination, because even in our own homes, when we are infected, we must opt for voluntary isolation to protect others.

Dear Confreres, in the face of this planetary phenomenon, our attitude as Dehonians must be one of compassion, and it is as such that we join Father Dehon as his representatives in a world which expects from us concrete acts of love, of sharing and of solidarity. I therefore take the initiative of re-scheduling the pastoral and canonical visit scheduled for the 15th to the 20th of August 2020 in Toronto to another date to be decided in dialogue with the members of the aforementioned community.

I wish all a blessed feast of the birth of our Founder.

Montréal, March 14, 2020
Gustave Lulendo scj.

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