Bishop McCaig visits the Holy Name Chapel

Padre Jonczyk

Chaplain’s Corner

Padre Zibby Jonczyk

The head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has asked priests and bishops on many occasions to be good and faithful shepherds, constantly present with their flock.

On April 5 the 4 Wing Catholic Parish community welcomed amongst its midst the Shepherd of the Roman Catholic Military Diocese Most Reverend Scott McCaig, CC.

Bishop McCaig stayed on our base for five days. His stop over was one of several visits to military bases in western Canada.

During his stay Bishop McCaig met with the Parish Council and celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation for eleven candidates. He also had the opportunity to meet his chaplains, visit some of the units and preside in a three-day Parish retreat.

Although the main purpose of the visit was the Celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Catholic padres and members of the congregation were excited for the spiritual retreat on the Eucharist.

During his presentation, Bishop McCaig spoke on three aspects of the Eucharist: Eucharist as a sacrifice, Eucharist as a banquet and the Eucharist as the Adoration.

Bishop McCaig used several references from the Bible, Catholic Saints, and other authors. He also cited J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and other popular books. Tolkien — himself was a veteran of World War I who had seen action at the Battle of Somme —wrote a letter to his son Christopher, who was serving in the Royal Air Force during the World War II.

In his letter, Tolkien described the Eucharist in the following words:

“Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament… There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death. By the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste — or foretaste — of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man’s heart desires.

“The only cure for sagging or fainting faith is Communion. Though always Itself, perfect and complete and inviolate, the Blessed Sacrament does not operate completely and once for all in any of us. Like the act of Faith it must be continuous and grow by exercise. Frequency is of the highest effect. Seven times a week is more nourishing than seven times at intervals.

“Also I can recommend this as an exercise (alas! only too easy to find opportunity for): make your communion in circumstances that affront your taste. Choose a snuffling or gabbling priest or a proud and vulgar friar; and a church full of the usual bourgeois crowd, ill-behaved children – from those who yell to those products of Catholic schools who the moment the tabernacle is opened sit back and yawn – open necked and dirty youths, women in trousers and often with hair both unkempt and uncovered. Go to communion with them (and pray for them).

It will be just the same (or better than that) as a mass said beautifully by a visibly holy man, and shared by a few devout and decorous people. It could not be worse than the mess of the feeding of the Five Thousand – after which our Lord propounded the feeding that was to come.”

The Bishop’s visit is over now and we have been left with something to ponder.

His visit was an occasion to rejuvenate our Parish and to foster and reaffirm our faith. It was a time of grace and celebration. It was a special event in the life of our Chapel, and an opportunity for a renewal of our Christian life: a time of encouragement and reassurance.

For those of you who might be interested in Bishop McCaig’s presentation on Eucharist please contact the Chaplain’s office. A copy of his retreat will be soon available to sign out.

zbigniew.jonczyk@forces.gc.ca