Friday, January 28, 2022


The Feast of the Holy Meeting.
The Feast of Light.
The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the Purification of Mary.
The feast of pancakes round and golden like the sun that we eat with friends.

Without forgetting the day of the marmot which makes you dream of spring.

So many titles for this event, so many reasons to celebrate.

I love when Christian holidays blend with the thread of life and the cycle of nature.
40 days after the birth of Jesus,
40 days after the winter solstice, in the heart of the cold, almost halfway to the spring equinox.
Let's not forget also, our 40 days and more of confinement.
Don't we feel like celebrating together! And when the liturgy invites us to do so, the meeting is even more significant.

And what a pleasure to reconnect with these old traditions! Candlemas, in my St. Matthew Christian community, is one of those traditions that we rediscovered in the 90s and which has since brought together more and more people. Even in times of confinement, it is on Zoom that we will celebrate it again this year.

Simeon and Anna, the two heroes of this Holy Meeting, are people like you and me. They look so much like us, these two “old person”. We have been going to them for almost 30 years. From Candlemas to Candlemas, we have grown old with them, and many of us have touched our seventies and eighties. Anna and Simeon are part of our Christian family.

Even if they have no children, they are for me the image of grandparents whose most beautiful mission is to welcome and recognize the promise of God, the coming of God through every new birth. A divinely significant mission, especially in these times when many of our grandchildren are not baptized.

And the same story, casually, revisited over the years, continues to shape our view of believers. Celebrating is unifying: it marks the passage of time; it sometimes helps to reinterpret meaningful encounters in our lives.
And let us remember that meals are sacred in the Bible, as are the bonds that unite us around the same table.

On the Candlemas menu,
small candles,
Pancakes, round and golden brown, like the “spring” sun, as tradition dictates.
Why pancakes?
Because in less cold countries, where the tradition comes from, February 2 announced the season for sowing and full of confidence in the new season, old flour was used to cook pancakes.

Today, in our prayer, if we give thanks to God for all the grandchildren who are given to us and who, in these difficult times of confinement, need our gaze and our recognition so much. Why not send a message of love to these children in our lives. This year, we will celebrate it happily each at home, but all together on ZOOM. Anna and Simeon would be so surprised!

Françoise Lagacé, Pastoral Council of St Matthew

To join us this Sunday at St Matthew's parish :

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

"Fratelli Tutti" - An Introduction

A word from Archbishop Durocher:

Dear friends, I am happy to launch this new blog for the English sector of the Archdiocese of Gatineau. Here, you will find articles on a variety of topics of interest to parishioners of our area. I am happy to present our first post, a contribution from Nicole Fortier-Courcy of Gatineau. She is an Associate of the Franciscan missionaries of Mary, and has accepted to share of series of texts that will give us an overview of Pope Francis's encyclical on fraternity and social friendship, "Fratelli Tutti." I invite you to not only visit this blog regularly, but to share its content with the people you know. Warm blessings on all of you! 

+ Paul-André

Fratelli Tutti - Brothers and Sisters All

An Introduction


What a gift!  And what a joy for the associate members of the Franciscan missionaries of Mary: an encyclical letter from pope Francis, inspired by saint Francis of Assisi concerning fraternity and social friendship!  What a deep meditation on the life of this saint! And what a call for us!

At the beginning of the encyclical, we read: “God has created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity, and has called them to live together as brothers and sisters.” (par. 5)

Certainly, I agree with this statement, but how shall I be able to apply it in my daily life?

In its summary of the Pope Francis’s encyclical, the French religious magazine ‘Les Chemins franciscains’ (December 2020) stresses the fact that the letter’s methodology “translates into action what the Christian tradition contributes to a reflection to a world in dialogue.”

In his days, Francis of Assisi met with the sultan Malik-el-Kamil for a rich conversation.  Following his example, in our time, Pope Francis visited the orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew to discuss his encyclical ‘Laudato Si’; he later met with the grand imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb to  reflect on ‘Fratelli Tutti’.

However, as author Kim Thy recently said on CBC radio, “dialogue calls for openness.”

Personally, do I create space for ‘dialogue’ in my life?

How open-minded am I to ideas others than my own?

These are some of the considerations arising in my mind as I read the introduction of this encyclical letter, consisting of eight chapters.  May each of them become the object of our meditation over the next weeks.

Nicole Fortier-Courcy, associate of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (Gatineau community)

Translation: Marie-Thérèse Roy


  A sixth wave of COVID , the crisis of climate change, renewed inflation, the war in Ukraine: we have so many reasons to feel discouraged ...