God our Father makes us his children and says to us... "Do not be afraid!" - N.Y. Day, 2021 - MQP - JLW Parish

 Gospel & Homily MP3 version        Gospel & Homily PDF version 

Happy New Year dear brothers and sisters! Happy Feast Day of Mary, Mother of God!

To some people it sounds strange to call Mary the Mother of God. They understand that she is the Mother of Jesus, but why call her the Mother of God? In the first few centuries of the life and history of the Church there were many arguments about the mystery of Mary’s motherhood.

It was because some believed that Jesus was God but only pretending to be human. Others believed that Jesus was truly a man but only blessed by God and not actually God Himself. It took quite some time for the Holy Spirit to help people understand that Jesus is truly God, the only-begotten Son of God the Father, and at the same time, Jesus is truly human, the son of Mary by the mysterious overshadowing of the Holy Spirit who conceived Jesus in her womb.

 Can we try to imagine what it must have been like for 13 or 14-year-old Mary to receive the visitation of the Archangel Gabriel and his astounding message? We have trouble trusting in God for our health or daily bread or job or marriage or harmony in our family or peace in the world. I don’t think we would react very well to the visitation of an angel from heaven.

Zechariah, the father of the child who later grew up to become John the Baptist, was a priest. He was a good and holy man of God; yet even he had trouble believing the Archangel Gabriel who appeared to him with a heavenly message. As a result of his unwillingness to believe, Zechariah was struck dumb by God. God’s plans for humanity are not trivial because they are about life and death, but more importantly, they are about our eternal salvation.

The heritage that God our Creator has in store for every human being is eternal life. To live forever, without any ending at all, is a very big deal. Eternal life is so precious that its value is impossible to calculate. In any event, eternal life cannot be bought or sold, and no human being will ever be able to produce eternal life. Living forever is a gift that only God can give.

The quality and the kind of eternal life into which we will enter at the moment of our death, when we leave behind our mortal earthly home, depends on the quality of life we will have put together all along the way leading up to our final moments and our final breath on this Earth.

When Jesus had become a man and entered into his public mission entrusted to Him by the Father, He made it crystal clear that our eternal life will be either happy or miserable based on whether or not we become willing to live our life out of confidence in God and love for others; as opposed to living our life out of fear and obsession with our own selfish impulses.

That is why today’s Solemn Feast of Mary Mother of God is also the World Day of Peace. It is God’s design that human women have been created with an innate capacity and willingness to give life and to nurture life. There is no equivalent feast of fatherhood because all men are called to give life by lovingly and generously putting themselves at the service of all women.

 We could well ask ourselves one simple question: “Am I living my life out of love, or out of fear?” Many men are called by God to follow Jesus and serve humanity as priests, but so many don’t answer the call; it is probably out of fear. Many of us priests could be more generous or dedicated as we are called to be; but we might be afraid. Many infants in the womb never see the light of day, but instead are torn to shreds and ripped out of their mother’s womb; again, it is probably out of fear and probably more the fear of the man than the fear of the woman.

You see, God loves us so much that He has designed our human life in such a way that we never have to live in isolation, but rather, in the warmth and harmony of family life and human community. If we live in isolation it is all too often because we make choices based on fear and not on love. Love pulls us away from the objects of our fear in order to draw our attention to the God who loves us and wants to fill us with his love. God wants every woman to be cherished and surrounded by those who love and support her, and similarly, God wants every man to be respected and surrounded by those who love and support him.

When the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah and Mary, his first words to them were “Do not be afraid.” Gabriel observed that both the old man and the young virgin were startled by his appearing and he immediately addressed their fear and invited them to replace their fear with confidence and trust in God. Opening our heart to others also opens our heart to God.

Through Baptism God has given us the power to become children of God by freely choosing to believe in Him and put our trust in Him. This is faith: choosing freely to put our trust in God even when we don’t understand. It is this faith, this willingness to trust in God no matter what that enables us to receive the relationship God is offering us every moment of every day. As we turn to God with joyful anticipation and hope, we turn our back on fear and open ourselves to be touched and given life by the love of God. We get to know God more personally by reading the inspired Word of God in the Bible, by opening up our mind and heart to God in prayer at all hours of the day and night, and by opening our heart and our hands to our neighbor.

If you haven’t been to confession in a long time, maybe now would be a good time to do it while we are still alive on this Earth. Jesus is there through the priest to give us his mercy.

So let us continue to pray for one another that we might accept the encouragement and grace of the Holy Spirit to open wide our heart, our mind, our spirit and even our body to the presence and the love of God: the Father, + the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Let us take a few moments in silence to reflect on this Good News given to us by the Lord.




© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC

Funeral Mass - Alice Winifred Marolly - Dec. 30th, 2020 - Sainte Suzanne Parish Church

Homily in MP3 mode file
        These Christmas Days we wonder at the marvelous light shining on the face of the Infant Jesus - and we get the message that all God wants of us is to share friendship and the love of family bonds. If we accept to receive what God offers; then He is free to give us all that He wants to give. However, if we don't accept to receive his offer; then He can do very little for us. In such a case, we isolate ourselves and are "on our own". This choice is ours not only in a potential relationship with God, but in all our relations.

Brief Communion Reflection - Closing Rites - in MP3 mode file            Alice Winifred Marolly obviously enjoyed a close relationship with her God, and this was reflected in how she related to everyone else, beginning with her family. How can we delve more deeply into fully engaging and rich relationships with others and also with God? It begins at every moment with "desire". We are so designed that there emerge within us many desires, but the key desire is to have a relationship with someone... with other human beings... and also with God. As long as we nurture this desire and do something about it; then the other can respond and reciprocate. If I stop desiring; then I shut the gate. 

At the cemetery - Bede Jarrett's poem prayer 

We Give Them Back to You, O Lord

We give them back to You, O Lord who first gave them to us;

yet as You did not lose them in the giving, 

so we do not lose them by their return…..

For what is yours is ours also, if we belong to You.

Love is undying, and life is unending, 

        and the boundary of this mortal life is but a horizon, 

        and the horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.

Lift us up, strong Son of God, that we may see further. 

Cleanse our eyes that we may see more clearly….

And while You prepare the place for us, 

        prepare us also for that happy place; that we may be with You, 

        and with those we love forevermore.


Prayer used by Fr Bede Jarrett, O.P. (22 August 1881 – 17 March 1934)

Written by William Penn (1644 – 1718)

Christmas Day / - Jour de Noël 25 décembre / December 25th, 2020 - Sainte-Suzanne

Gospel & Homily / Évangile et Homélie - version MP3        - 
version PDF   

It has been a full nine months since the beginning of the worldwide Covid-19 Pandemic in Québec and Canada last March. That is the duration of a human pregnancy, and it has not been a joyful one, but a difficult, painful, and sad time of dreaded expectancy. Under these circumstances, how can we go around wishing one another “Merry Christmas?”

 La Pandémie mondiale Covid-19 nous a frappés ici au Québec et au Canada il y a neuf mois, le temps d’une grossesse. Ce temps d’attente n’a pas été joyeux mais difficile, douloureux, et trop souvent triste. Comment allons-nous faire pour nous souhaiter : « Joyeux Noël? »

La joie de Noël que Dieu le Père nous offre en donnant à toute l’humanité son Fils n’est pas la jovialité du « party ». C’est plutôt la joie de se savoir aimé, et que cet amour est permanent. Dieu n’arrête jamais de nous aimer. The joy which God the Father offers all of humanity at Christmas is not the merriment of “party time”; rather, it is the joy that erupts from knowing that we are loved, and that this love is permanent. God never stops loving us.

We who are disciples of Jesus and known as Christians and Catholics are not naïve. We know well enough that life is an uninterrupted procession of troubles ending in physical death. Human beings have always known this. Today, and for the next 16 days until the Baptism of the Lord, God envelops us in the warm blanket of peace and love, joy and hope at the sight of the Infant Jesus in Mary’s or Joseph’s arms or in the manger. The beauty and peace of the Infant Jesus is a balm applying God’s healing and merciful love on the wounds of our heart and soul.

Cependant, nous Chrétiens et Catholiques, nous ne sommes pas naïfs. Nous savons comme toute l’humanité que la vie est une procession ininterrompue de troubles nous menant jusqu’à la mort. En ce Noël, et pour les prochains 16 jours jusqu’au Baptême de Jésus, le Bon Dieu nous enveloppe dans une couverture douce et chaude de sa paix, de son amour, de la joie et de l’espérance à la vue de l’Enfant Jésus dans les bras de Marie ou de Joseph ou dans la crèche. La beauté et la paix de l’Enfant Jésus est un baume appliquant l’amour miséricordieux et guérisseur de Dieu sur les plaies de notre cœur, de notre âme, et de notre esprit.

This Pandemic has confirmed what humanity has always known, namely, that God does not come to rescue us from trouble as if by magic. On the contrary, God leaves wide open the full range of our freedom of thought, word, emotion, attitude, gesture, and action. We all suffer the consequences of our errors and sins; as well as of the errors and sins others. We know that we will die; yet in the face of all this darkness, Jesus has come to offer us the hope of sharing with Him in the resurrection and joining Him with the Father and the Holy Spirit in Heaven.  

Après neuf mois de Pandémie mondiale il est tout à fait évident que le Bon Dieu ne vient pas nous secourir comme par magie; au contraire, Dieu nous laisse grand ouvert le champ de notre liberté de pensée, de parole, d’émotion, d’attitude, de geste, et d’action. Nous souffrons tous et toutes les conséquences de nos gaffes et de nos péchés, et de ceux des autres. Nous savons que nous mourrons; mais face à tous ces ténèbres, Jésus est venu nous offrir l’espérance de partager avec Lui la résurrection et le Ciel en communion avec le Père et le Saint Esprit.

The Infant Jesus is small, humanly weak, and innocent, but we already know that as Son of God He will be great, a master of divine wisdom, and a true champion. He will courageously face our faults and all our troubles. He will not make what hurts or frightens us disappear as by enchantment. No, He will show us that we have nothing to fear regarding our eternal destiny, and because He is always with us in the Holy Spirit, we can face the present with complete confidence in God and endure everything without complaining. Jesus is our joy.

L’enfant Jésus est tout petit, humain, faible et innocent, mais nous savons déjà que, Fils de Dieu, Il sera grand, un maître de sagesse, et un vrai champion. Il fera face courageusement à nos défauts et à tous nos troubles. Il ne fera pas disparaître comme par enchantement ce qui nous fait peur ou mal. Non, Il nous montrera que nous n’avons rien à craindre concernant notre destinée éternelle. Il est toujours avec nous dans le Saint Esprit. Nous pouvons affronter le présent avec toute confiance en Dieu et tout endurer sans nous plaindre. Jésus est notre joie.  

Alors laissons-nous emporter dans la joie de contempler l’innocente beauté de l’Enfant Jésus et laissons notre cœur se dilater par amour pour Lui et pour Notre Père du Ciel; car l’Esprit Saint vient à tout moment nous remplir de la vitalité et de l’amour de Dieu. Faisons plaisir au Bon Dieu à tout moment et en toute circonstance; car Emanuel vient trouver sa demeure au-dedans de nous. Il vient nous rendre capables d’aimer tout le monde, même ceux qui veulent se faire nos ennemies. Jésus vient faire toute chose neuve; alors en Jésus nous pouvons dire à tout le monde sincèrement et avec abandon : Joyeux Noël!

So let the innocent beauty of the Child Jesus sweep us away, and let our hearts swell with love for Him and for our Father in Heaven; for the Holy Spirit comes at every moment to fill us with the vitality and love of God. Let us seek to please the Good God at every moment and in every situation; for Emanuel comes to dwell within us. He comes to enable us to love everyone, even those who would make themselves our enemies. Jesus comes to make all things new; so we can truly say to everyone with great abandon: Merry Christmas!

Let us now wish one another “Merry Christmas!” in the love of God: the Father, + the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Tournons-nous les uns vers les autres maintenant pour nous souhaiter un « Joyeux Noël! » dans l’amour de Dieu : le Père, le + Fils, et le Saint Esprit. Amen. « Joyeux Noël! » “Merry Christmas!” 



© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC

God's love shines radiantly upon us in the Nativity of his Son Jesus birthed by Mary his Mother - Wed. Dec. 23, 2020 - S + L Mass at MQW Cathedral downtown Montreal

 Homily MP3 version          Homily PDF version    

Day 8 of Mary & Joseph’s Pilgrimage from Nazareth to Bethlehem

Hello. I’m Father Gilles Surprenant. It is the day before Christmas Eve. Christmas is so close now. We thank God for bringing us together via Salt + Light for this live Mass in Mary Queen of the World Cathedral in downtown Montreal. Television air time is so very expensive to produce; so we appreciate your support by way of your prayers and donations. Thank you.

Sign of the +                      Greeting                                  Penitential Rite

Listen attentively to the sounds of silence…. Can you hear the little bells on the donkey’s harness? It is day 8 of the 9-day pilgrimage of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Mary was very heavy with the Child Jesus still in her womb. How difficult and uncomfortable it must have been for her to ride on the donkey; yet she did not complain. Sadly, we may at times be inclined to complain, making life more difficult for those around us, and we may forget to be grateful and may neglect showing others our appreciation. Let us ask the Lord to forgive us….



There is a divine glow coming from the love of God and shining brightly upon our souls as we approach the radiant days of the Christmas Season. Of course we see more and more lights shining their Christmas beauty – whether you prefer waiting for Christmas Eve to turn on your exterior lights or began lighting up the front of your home as early as the beginning of Advent.

More dramatic is the radiant light shining on us from the loving face of Jesus, warming the cold and damp of our minds and hearts. As children see their parents expending great effort to prepare for Christmas, they might be inclined to take greater care to please their parents and to avoid having conflicts with their siblings; they may even volunteer to help more spontaneously.

Employers may be more inclined to show patience and gratitude to their employees; while workers may be inclined to work harder and give their employers a better effort and result for their labors. Siblings may have already begun to show each other deeper understanding and compassion through better words and more gestures of kindness, gratitude, and generosity. We may even begin to notice the poor and homeless, who suffer so much from feeling invisible, and we may stop to chat with them and ask them how they are managing and offer them a gift.

All year long, but especially during these holy days of Advent followed by the radiant days of Christmas, the Holy Spirit is constantly at work: attracting our minds, hearts, and spirits to adopt better attitudes of understanding, patience, kindness, and compassion. As the script writer of the classic movie “Miracle on 34th Street” had the character Kris Kringle put it: “This time of year inspires people to lay aside the more hateful and selfish tendencies that usually tend to dominate our lives, in favor of mutual understanding, kindness, and generosity….”

It is necessary and good for us to cooperate with this work of the Holy Spirit within us, because God – the Most Holy Trinity – is a blazing furnace of divine love. If we accept to be purified now, during our life on Earth, of every hateful and selfish tendency, and replace these with thoughts, words, and gestures of kindness, forgiveness, compassion, and generosity; then when we come face to face with God the meeting will be joyous and not painful.

On the other hand, if we insist on complaining, pouting, being miserable, making trouble for others, and thinking only of ourselves; then when we come face to face before God – who is an intense furnace of divine love – God’s blazing fire of love will be shockingly painful indeed.

We can see the clear difference between our ways and God’s ways in what happened around the birth and circumcision of John the Baptist. The whole family was taken up with the family traditions which would require the child to be given his father’s name. Elizabeth very courageously stood her ground when she insisted, with her husband Zechariah, on doing what God had asked them to do through the Angel Gabriel; that is, to name the child John.

These are privileged days of grace for us. As we continue our own journey of faith in God – personally and as a family – we have these wonderful witnesses present to us to encourage us: Elizabeth and Zechariah, Mary and Joseph, the Archangel Gabriel, and the two infants: John who would become the Baptist, and Jesus, who would become our Saviour.

It is an act of love at this time of year to remember before God all those who are unwanted, unremembered, and unloved; as well as those who are unable to make room for them; because all of us are personally loved by God: the Father, + the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Salt + Light Media and Mary Queen of the World Cathedral are happy to receive your contributions and Mass intentions in support of this Live Daily Mass. Please continue to send your donations and Mass intentions to Salt + Light Media or to the Cathedral. Thank you for your support. To contact me just send an email to fathergilles@gmail.com




© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC

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The LSM sponsored by CAM continues... God invites us to unburden our hearts to receive his JOY... Jesus' Nativity is near... "Rejoice!" - Sunday Dec. 13th, 2020 - LSM - OLF Parish

 HOMILY MP3 file          HOMILY PDF file   

Good evening dear brothers and sisters! Welcome to our 3rd Sunday of Advent! For the first time in seven years and 2 months we are no longer gathered together around Bishop Thomas Dowd, who is now bishop elect of Sault-Ste-Marie Diocese. He served us and offered us his friendship since his ordination to the priesthood December 7th, 2001 and his consecration as Auxiliary Bishop of Montreal September 1oth, 2011. This Thursday, December 17th, he will be installed as 7th Bishop of Sault-Ste-Marie Diocese, Ontario. This week he is moving into his residence and office in Sudbury and will also be working in North Bay and Sault-Ste-Marie. You will be able to take part by Internet in his installation in North Bay via Salt+Light or SSM.

The 1st Candle in our Advent Wreath gave witness to the great reason for our hope: that in Jesus our heavenly Father is eager to grant us forgiveness for our sins and restore our dignity and abundance of life as his children. The 2nd Candle in our Advent Wreath gave witness to the faith of all those who went before us on this journey towards God on Earth and that we too are called to deliberately choose to live our life with complete faith and trust in God through Jesus.

Today, the 3rd Candle in our Advent Wreath gives witness to the nearness of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. The other 3 candles are a beautiful, deep purple, signifying our need to repent of our sins, to accept God’s grace to change our attitudes and behaviours and convert our lives to become more like Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Today the 3rd candle is pink, expressing beautifully the JOY which is ours as we come closer and closer to December 24th and 25th; when we will celebrate the Nativity, the Birth of Jesus, the Saviour of the world, Jesus, the Light of the world.

The joy which our God offers us today is not like the joy which people can experience every day in the course of our earthly life. Earthly joy naturally erupts within us when we receive and open a beautifully wrapped present, or have a birthday party, or receive a promotion at work, or get a raise in salary, or when we get married, or witness the birth of a baby. These moments all have their own value, and it is God’s intention that we have moments of joy in our lives.

No, the joy which God offers us today, and every day as his children living in this world, is a supernatural joy; it is a participation in the joy which is in the Most Holy Trinity, and it is a joy which has eternal value because God the Most Holy Trinity is eternal.

This divine JOY erupts within us when we freely choose to use the supernatural gift of faith infused within us by the Holy Spirit and recognize that all that we are and all that we have is coming to us from God, from within the Most Holy Trinity, and is an expression of God’s love.

Today this divine JOY erupts within us by the grace of the Holy Spirit as we approach our celebration of the Nativity of Jesus, the Saviour of the world, Jesus, the Light of the world. As we turn our eyes, minds, hearts, and souls to Jesus, like a bright ray of sunlight the love of God shines upon us and gives supernatural warmth to our spirits; no matter our situation in life.

It is the Holy Spirit who filled Mary with this divine JOY, prompting her to erupt in praise to God in what we now call her Magnificat: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.” When we permit God to shine his radiant divine light within us, we too erupt with divine JOY. This divine JOY is one of the wondrous characteristics of the eternal beatitude of the saints in Heaven, in the divine Presence of the Most Holy Trinity. We can be aware of this divine JOY when we encounter Jesus in the sacraments, and especially in Holy Communion, when Jesus gives us a transfusion of the divine life He has with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Our body needs to replenish its strength be eating one or more meals each day; so too our spirit needs to be constantly replenished by God.

As our local star the Sun constantly shines forth its light and heat; so too does God the Most Holy Trinity constantly shine forth divine light and the fire of divine love. However, just as our rotating Earth plunges us into darkness and cold every night; so too can we plunge ourselves into the cold and dark of distance from God by our choice of thoughts, attitudes, words, actions, and behaviours. It is true that some thoughts, emotions, and gestures erupt from within us as if without our consent; so God does not blame us for those human faults. However, God as our loving Father, does discipline us and lovingly expects us to make efforts to “clean up our act” in order to give more room to the expansion of love, to make efforts to spread attitudes of kindness and compassion, and to spread the works of mercy.

That is why this Late Sunday Mass is the foundational activity of Catholic Action Montreal; as intended by Bishop Tom Dowd, and as maintained and developed by the leadership of CAM and all those who bring their cooperation to this great communal work of love and mercy. John the Baptist baptized with water to give the people an opportunity to decide to turn away from all that is evil and become free to live their lives in the company and spirit of the living God.

Jesus continues to offer God’s mercy to all who desire his forgiveness, to unburden our heart to love God and others as we love ourselves, in purity of heart. In addition, Jesus refills us with the Holy Spirit, without whose power we are often powerless to change. If you haven’t been to confession in a long time, now would be a good time to do it while there is still time.

So let us continue to pray for one another that we might accept the encouragement and grace of the Holy Spirit to open wide our heart, our mind, our spirit and even our body to the presence and the love of God: the Father, + the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Let us take a few moments in silence to reflect on this Good News spoken to us by the Lord. 


© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC

God loves us tenderly - See Jesus the Good Shepherd & Our Lady of Guadlupe's dialogue with St. Juan Diego - Wed. Dec. 9, 2020 - S + L Mass at MQW Cathedral downtown Montreal

 Homily MP3 file with announcement         Homily PDF file with announcement   

Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (Our Lady of Guadalupe 1531)

Hello. I’m Father Gilles Surprenant. In this second week of Advent we gather to worship the Lord our God in Mary Queen of the World Cathedral and are pleased to join you in your home, you who are participating via Salt + Light TV or the Internet.

We are only in the 3rd month of this Daily LIVE English Mass on Salt + Light Media. By now you are coming to know some 15 priests worshipping with you in real time. We are blessed to ponder the Word of God together and to worship in his presence.  

As you may or may not know, television time is expensive to produce – both for Salt + Light and for the Cathedral – so we appreciate your support by way of prayers and donations. The startup costs have been steep; so we would be very grateful to donors able and willing to be particularly generous in helping us balance our budget by the end of the year. Thank you.               Sign of the +


The Lord our God is addressing to us a particularly tender Word today. Through the prophet Isaiah the Lord gently reproached his people in exile for feeling abandoned by their God. “Have you not known? Have you not heard?” The Lord said to them as He says to us, “Don’t you realize that I love you and don’t get tired, and that my eyes penetrate into the most hidden depths of your spirit; so that I may shine my light into every dark shadow?” God is a divine Spirit and the Holy Trinity remains hidden from our eyes to protect our free will.

God is hidden from our eyes but not from our inmost spirit; so the Psalmist was pumping himself up to give thanks and praise to the Lord. The Psalms are the inspired Word of God because they are God’s answer to the shadows that plague our minds, hearts, spirits, and even our bodies. Christians recite the Psalms, ponder them, and murmur them prayerfully to freely invite the Holy Trinity to dispel our shadows with their divine light and radiant love.

You see, we are not ready yet to see the radiant splendor of God – if we could see God now as He is, we would be seduced, but seduction is a form of manipulation and control. God loves and refuses to manipulate us. A relationship that is not freely chosen but imposed is incapable of love. God wants us to have the satisfaction and delight of truly and freely loving Him.

The Father sent Jesus to us as the Good Shepherd to speak tenderly to our distressed spirits, discouraged hearts, and tired bodies: “Come to me you who are weary & carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

On this day, December 9th, 1531 in Mexico City, Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to a 57-year-old indigenous man baptized a Catholic Christian by the Franciscan missionaries. The Lord sent his Blessed Mother to bring the Divine Mercy to a people who had suffered much by the human sacrifices demanded by the pagan goddess. Listen to a glimpse of their dialogue.

 “Know my son, Juan Diego, my much beloved, that I am the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God who is the Author of life, the Creator of all things, the Lord of heaven and earth, present everywhere. And it is my wish that here, there be raised to me a temple in which, as a loving mother to thee and those like thee, I shall show my tender clemency and the compassion I feel for the natives and for those who love and seek me, for all who implore my protection, who call on me in their labors and afflictions: and in which I shall hear their weeping and their supplications that I may give them consolation and relief.”

Our Lady sent Juan Diego to the Bishop with her request, but the bishop refused to believe.
Juan was overcome with shame and then his uncle became deathly ill; so he went out to get the priest but tried to avoid meeting Our Lady and took another road. She found him out anyway and asked him where he was going. Utterly confused, and at a loss for an explanation, he spontaneously resorted to pleasantries, “My daughter, my dear little one; God keep you, Lady! Did you sleep well? And how is your health?”

He talked to Mary as he would have to his own daughter, and most assuredly it wrung from her childlike heart a humoring smile. Perhaps it called to her mind tender questions she heard on earth from her own dear father, St. Joachim. Then, quickly regaining his presence of mind, Juan spoke more soberly about his uncle’s sickness and his intention of going to get a priest.

He looked up to see the lovely Woman smiling most affectionately upon him. With supreme gentleness and compassion she replied – and these words should reverberate from the walls of every church, home, and school in Christendom:

“Listen, and let it penetrate your heart, my dear little son; do not be troubled or weighted down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need? Do not let this illness of your uncle worry you, because he is not going to die of his sickness. At this very moment he is cured.”

Never before had Our Lady so openly revealed the tenderness of her Immaculate Heart. This revelation marked the beginning of the Age of Mary. What saint or mystic was ever so privileged as this humble Mexican Indian to hear, “Am I not here who am your Mother?”

In the end Our Lady’s mission was successful. The beautiful multicolored roses she picked miraculously in the dead of winter and arranged in Juan Diego’s tilma became a photo of her imprinted on the mantle which is preserved to this day in the Cathedral in Mexico City.

Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego and his people - through her timeless and beautiful "Polaroid" image imprinted mysteriously and miraculously on Juan Diego's tilma - and the native Aztec "Indian" people immediately recognized Our Lady as one of their own, yet not of this Earth but from the heavens. She rescued them from the harsh slavery to their pagan goddess, a giant feathery serpent; whose priests carried out countless human sacrifices. 

To this day the Mexican people owe their freedom and Christian faith to the greatest evangelist of all time, Our Lady of Guadalupe; for within a decade of her apparitions to St. Juan Diego more than nine million Aztecs were came eagerly to Christ and were baptized. In light of these wonderous apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe and with gratitude for the tender motherhood which Mary shows us today; let us remember now before God those hundreds of thousands who today will die unwanted and unremembered; as well as for those who were unable to make room for them; for they – like each of us – are loved by God: the Father, + the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Announcement: Mary Queen of the World Cathedral (Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde) and Salt + Light Media are happy to receive your contributions and intentions in support of this Live Daily Mass. Please continue to send your donations and Mass intentions to Mary Queen of the World Cathedral and Salt + Light Media c/o Mary Queen of the World Cathedral, 1071 Rue de la Cathédrale, Montreal QC H3B 2V4. Thank you for your support. To contact me just send an email to fathergilles@gmail.com      https://frgilleshomilies.blogspot.com

© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC        © 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC

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God our Father gives us permission to complain while Jesus says to us... "Stay awake!" - Sunday Nov. 29th, 2020 - MQP - JLW Parish

  Homily MP3 file                     Homily PDF file   

Good day dear brothers and sisters! You have noticed the change in liturgical color today. We are already beginning a new liturgical year with the first Sunday of Advent, a time God gives us to help us prepare to receive in a new and fresh way the Father’s gift of his Son to the world for the life of the world. The eternal Son of God was first given to humanity when Mary conceived the divine Son in her womb at the Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel, which we celebrate on March 25th. Nine months later, on December 25th, we celebrate the Nativity, the Birth of Jesus, the Saviour of the world, Jesus, the Light of the world.

What’s not so unusual about the Word the Lord addresses to us today is that in the words of the prophet Isaiah, God gives us permission to complain. That’s right. God inspired Isaiah to complain to God on behalf of the people, because they were quite fed up of suffering and of waiting for God to manifest his power and act to save them.

Do you have any reason to complain these days? Some people say to me: “I don’t know, Father, our life is pretty good in spite of the troubles of these times. I have a good life, a wonderful spouse, good children, work isn’t so good but we get by. Our health is okay so far.”

On the other hand, other people say to me: “Father, I’m fed up with all this Covid trouble. We argue more at home sometimes, the children are climbing the walls, work is bad, there is some sickness in the family… when will it all end? We’re really quite fed up.”

You know, it occurred to me that in the past at times I would wonder what it must have been like for people when they had to go through WWI from 1914 to 1918. At the time, they called it the Great War because it was the most extensive war in the world in living memory and could very well have been the worst war in human history by involving the greatest number of people.

While they were in it, and as the casualties mounted, it must have felt as though it would never end. The days and weeks must have seemed so long and hard to endure. Then, if that wasn’t bad enough, just as the war ended, the Spanish Flu began to spread all over the world and it lasted for two years. During WWI 20 million died, but the Spanish Flu killed 50 million over two years when the world population was around 1.8 billion.

WWII killed between 70 and 85 million people when the world population was around 2.3 billion. As people lived through the Spanish Flu and suffered the sickness and death of people all around them and in their own families, the trouble and pain must have felt endless, as if it would never end. They must certainly have complained and cried out to God. It was the same during WWII with the exception that for those left behind here there was an incredible new prosperity with the development of war time industrial expansion for the production of arms and equipment and supplies for the war effort. Many women got jobs for the first time ever.

So, what is life like for you and your loved ones these days? Do you have any reason to complain or are you feeling fed up with the situation we are living in during our time? Well, if you are fed up and feeling like complaining, don’t be shy to complain to God. After all, He is our Father in heaven, our Creator who made us, and He knows how we’re made and what it is like for us to endure all these things.

One good reason to complain is why the Lord allowed our Church in Montreal to have so much trouble understanding that Brian Boucher was a troubled man and dangerous priest who did so much harm to people. Why did it take so long to stop him? Why was he ordained in the first place? You can read all about that in Judge Capriolo’s report on the Diocese’s website.

It is perfectly natural for us to have trouble understanding the ways of the Lord and to put our questions to Him. Lord, why are there a few bad priests? Lord, when will this Covid-19 pandemic come to an end? We have been praying for an effective remedy to cure the sick; as well as for an effective vaccine to prevent anyone else from being infected or developing symptoms and getting sick or dying. How long must we continue to wait and worry?

Brothers and sisters, as we prepare the bread and wine on the Altar, it is important for us to also put on the Altar our needs, our complaints, our fears, our troubles, our worries, all our concerns for ourselves and the people we love, and to bring to the Father – together with Jesus – all that we carry in our minds, hearts, souls, and bodies…. Jesus invites us to make a total offering of ourselves to the Father together with Him as He allows us to participate in the total gift He made of Himself to the Father at the Last Supper and on the Cross….

Please also remember that as we prepare to welcome the joy and gift of Jesus and celebrate Him at Christmas, a very effective way to make room for God in our lives is to examine our conscience and then make a good confession before the priest, because when we go to see the priest, it is Jesus who is there listening to us. Jesus sends his priests to us.

If you haven’t been to confession in a long time, maybe now would be a good time to do it while we are still alive on this Earth. Jesus waits in the person of the priest to give us his mercy.

So let us continue to pray for one another that we might accept the encouragement and grace of the Holy Spirit to open wide our heart, our mind, our spirit and even our body to the presence and the love of God: the Father, + the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Let us take a few moments in silence to reflect on this Good News spoken to us by the Lord. 


© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-
2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC

St. Catherine of Alexandria - Wed. Nov. 25th, 2020 - S + L Mass at MQW Cathedral downtown Montreal

 PDF version of homily   YouTube link for this Mass & homily    MP3 version of homily


Hello. I’m Father Gilles Surprenant. This is the last week in Ordinary Time and Sunday we begin our Advent preparation for Christmas. Only seven weeks ago we began this English Daily Mass televised LIVE by Salt + Light Media. Live Masses are difficult to shape into 29 minutes. This live Mass brings Mary Queen of the World Cathedral and over a dozen priests into your home in real time. It is our privilege to serve you before God. Television time is expensive to produce; so we appreciate your support by way of your prayers and donations. Thank you.

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Here we are still in November and we continue to remember the dead and pray for them. Many are not remembered that were not wanted: the homeless, the abandoned, the refugees, those who are trafficked and sexually exploited, those who die alone in back alleys, and the ongoing slaughter of the innocents killed from the womb every day. Whether they are aware of it or not, all those who survive the unwanted dead also suffer because of their loss.

When in 1982 my baby nephew was killed in a car crash that almost killed my sister and mother, it seemed unfair that the baby would never get to grow up. It was so unfair for millions to die in the Holocaust of WWII that many people weren’t sure they still wanted to believe in God. Yesterday we remembered 130,000 Christians martyred in Vietnam over two centuries. Christians have been butchered since the time of Jesus’ Ascension into heaven, beginning with the 12 apostles and thousands of Christians for the next 300 years. It’s all so unfair.

Our God has never done or said anything to give the impression that life should be fair. He chose to create angels and human beings with the priceless gift of free will, which meant from the start that it would be possible for some angels and some human beings to abuse this gift.

We can certainly not accuse Jesus of leading us astray. As we heard in the brief quote today from Jesus’ warnings to his disciples; Jesus knew with certainty that some of us would be put to death just as He himself was about to be put to death. God the Father was not afraid of giving us the gift of free will and Jesus his Son was not afraid to endure the misuse of our free will when our ancestors turned against Him and put him to death; as He knew they would.

In the vision that God gave to the beloved disciple, the apostle and evangelist John, he saw that God will demonstrate at the end of time that He actually is fair and just as well as merciful. John needed a vision in order to see that what happens in this life is directly connected to what will happen next in eternity, once we pass through the thin veil of death into God’s presence.

Every good done in this world will be rewarded in eternity, and every evil done in this life will suffer the consequences, and in some cases, forever. God is willing to forgive if only we will repent of our evil and ask forgiveness from those we have harmed and from God. In the case of abortion, those little infants now comforted in God’s radiant love and life-giving presence can also forgive if those who let them die will ask to be forgiven. God will also forgive.

It is estimated that worldwide in 50 years over 2 billion infants have been terminated and extricated from their mothers’ wombs. That is 30 times the number of deaths caused by WWII. A month from now we will honor the handful of Holy Innocents who were killed by King Herod who felt threatened by the birth of Jesus. As over 150,000 little innocents cry out to heaven each day at the moment of their violent death; those who abandon them also cry out in silence.

Let us remember now before God those hundreds of thousands who today will die unwanted and unremembered; as well as for those who were unable to make room for them; for they – like each of us – are loved by God: the Father, + the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Announcement: Salt + Light Media is happy to receive your contributions and intentions in support of this Live Daily Mass. Please continue to send your donations and Mass intentions to Salt + Light Media. Thank you for your support. To contact me just send an email to fathergilles@gmail.com


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St. Catherine of Alexandria, Egyptian martyr

St. Catherine of Alexandria, (died c. early 4th century, Alexandria, Egypt; feast day November 25), one of the most popular early Christian martyrs and one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers (a group of Roman Catholic saints venerated for their power of intercession). She is the patron of philosophers and scholars and is believed to help protect against sudden death.

St. Catherine of Alexandria is not mentioned before the 9th century, and her historicity is doubtful. According to legend, she was an extremely learned young girl of noble birth, possibly a princess. She protested the persecution of Christians under the Roman emperor Maxentius—whose wife and several soldiers she converted while imprisoned—and defeated the most eminent scholars summoned by Maxentius to oppose her. During her subsequent torture, she professed that she had consecrated her virginity to Jesus Christ, her spouse, and was sentenced to death. The spiked wheel by which she was to be killed broke when she touched it (whence the term Catherine wheel); she was then beheaded.

After her death, angels allegedly took her body to Mount Sinai, where, according to legend, it was discovered about 800 CE. In the Middle Ages, when the story of her mystical marriage to Christ was widely circulated, she was one of the most popular saints and one of the most important virgin  martyrs.  St. Joan of Arc claimed that Catherine’s was among the heavenly voices that spoke to her.


Saint Catherine of Alexandria’s Story

According to the Legend of St. Catherine, this young woman converted to Christianity after receiving a vision. At the age of 18, she debated 50 pagan philosophers. Amazed at her wisdom and debating skills, they became Christians—as did about 200 soldiers and members of the emperor’s family. All of them were martyred.

Sentenced to be executed on a spiked wheel, Catherine touched the wheel and it shattered. She was beheaded. Centuries later, angels are said to have carried the body of Saint Catherine to a monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Devotion to her spread as a result of the Crusades. She was invoked as the patroness of students, teachers, librarians and lawyers. Catherine is one of the 14 Holy Helpers, venerated especially in Germany and Hungary.

Reflection – The pursuit of God’s wisdom may not lead to riches or earthly honors. In Catherine’s case, this pursuit contributed to her martyrdom. She was not, however, foolish in preferring to die for Jesus rather than live only by denying him. All the rewards that her tormentors offered her would rust, lose their beauty, or in some other way become a poor exchange for Catherine’s honesty and integrity in following Jesus Christ. Saint Catherine of Alexandria is the Patron Saint of: Lawyers, Librarians, Philosophers, Students, Teachers.


St. Catherine of Alexandria

Saint Catherine of Alexandria is a canonized saint in the Catholic Church who, per Christian tradition, was martyred around 305 in Alexandria, Egypt. Of course, the Church of the first Millennium was undivided. She is also recognized as the Great Martyr and Saint by the Orthodox Church. There are no surviving primary sources attesting to her existence, but the fact that her memory, and the stories about her, have been kept alive - and handed down in the tradition - certainly confirm her existence, and her life of heroic virtue and holiness.

The young saint was born around 287 in Alexandria, Egypt. At that time, Alexandria was one of the finest cities in the world, and a center of learning and culture as well as faith. Christian tradition states she was of noble birth, possibly a princess. As a member of the nobility, she was also educated and was an avid scholar. Around the age of fourteen, she experienced a moving vision of Mary and the infant Jesus, and she decided to become a Christian. Although she was a teenager, she was very intelligent and gifted. When the emperor Maxentius began persecuting Christians, Catherine visited him to denounce his cruelty.

Rather than order her execution, Maxentius summoned fifty orators and philosophers to debate her. However, Catherine was moved by the power of the Holy Spirit and spoke eloquently in defense of her faith. Her words were so moving that several of the pagans converted to Christianity and were immediately executed. Unable to defeat her rhetorically or to intimidate her into giving up her belief, the emperor ordered her to be tortured and imprisoned.

Catherine was arrested and scourged. Despite the torture, she did not abandon her faith. Word of her arrest and the power of her faith quickly spread and over 200 people visited her. According to some legends, the emperor's own wife, Valeria Maximilla was converted by Catherine. The emperor eventually executed his own wife over her conversion. However, this is not mentioned in the historical record and may be a legend. It is believed that Maximilla was alive and with her husband at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312, seven years after the death of Catherina.

Following her imprisonment, Maxentius made a final attempt to persuade the beautiful Catherine to abandon her faith by proposing marriage to her. This would have made her a powerful empress. Catherine refused, saying she was married to Jesus Christ and that her virginity was dedicated to him. The emperor angrily ordered her to be executed on a breaking wheel. The breaking wheel is an ancient form of torture where a person's limbs are threaded among the spokes and their bones are shattered by an executioner with a heavy rod. It is a brutal punishment that results in a slow and painful death, normally reserved for the worst criminals.

When Catherine was presented before the wheel, she touched it and a miracle occurred that caused the wheel to shatter. Unable to torture her to death, the emperor simply ordered her beheaded. One account claimed that angels took her body to Mt. Sinai. In the sixth century, the Emperor Justinian ordered a monastery established in her name. The monastery, Saint Catherine's, remains to this day and is one of the oldest in the world.

Around the year 800, a legend spread that her body has been found with her hair still growing and a constant stream of oil coming from her body. Nothing exists to this day of her remains, and her very existence has been called into question. Despite these questions, and the possibility that her story may be confused with that of one or more other saints, she is still venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as a Martyr. Many Roman Catholics also venerate her to this day as one of the great virgin saints of the early Church.

During the medieval period, St. Catherine was one of the most famous saints of the Church. She has was a popular subject in renaissance art and many paintings from the period are dedicated to her.

Catherine is still a very popular Catholic name. The spiked wheel is a popular symbol often associated with St. Catherine. Her feast day is Nov. 25, and she is the patron of a great many professions and causes. Her patronage includes students, unmarried girls, apologists and many more as well as many places around the world.

Go to this website, click on this button to Continue reading about St. Catherine of Alexandria


 © 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC

© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC

Like John the Baptist, God is with us to prepare the way for Jesus to touch other people's lives through us. - Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, June 24th, 2021 - S + L Mass at MQW Cathedral downtown Montreal

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