“The church is called to go outside of itself and go to the peripheries, not just geographic, but also the existential peripheries,” said Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio in March 2013. He did not wait until he was elected pope to make the “peripheries” central to his message, a central focus of our attention.
A Mass Like No Other
An extraordinary event took place at metro station Places d’Armes on Dec. 24. Father Claude Paradis, Notre-Dame-de-la-rue founder, celebrated a Christmas Mass for the poorest, the most fragile. During the celebration, he incidentally mentioned that the Magi were not the first to arrive on site at the manger, but the shepherds. From the moment of his birth, Jesus paid attention to the most vulnerable, and reuniting the most vulnerable is precisely what Father Claude did on that day.
Contrary to what one would think, the participants were not solely composed of people on drugs or of different backgrounds, but also of underprivileged elderly and of families in need. They all gathered in joy to celebrate. Musical animation was beautifully provided by the Troupe Terre Promise (TTP), a company originally created to raise funds for World Youth Day (WYD), which progressively focused on evangelizing through the arts, namely through theatre, animation and music.
On Dec. 24, TPP was particularly happy to put the company’s talents at the service of this Mass for the most deprived. If you wish to unite in prayer with the Troupe Terre Promise, please visit their website at: https://troupeterrepromise.org/.
“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” Mother Teresa
A distribution of clothing was held after the celebration again in collaboration with Notre-Dame de la rue. The participants also had the chance to gather and share a warm, comforting soup with bread. Twenty-one-year-old Pamela Rioux is a young volunteer at Notre-Dame de la rue. On Thursdays, she joins with other volunteers at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral to make sandwiches, and collect food and garments.
They then gather in front of the metro station Place d’Armes to distribute the donations. Yet, Pamela’s involvement does not stop there: on Tuesday afternoons, when her schedule permits, she goes on patrols. This joyful, young volunteer with a warm smile blends among the homeless who are happy to have someone to confide in. She reminds us, by the way she serves, that we can give at any age, and that there are many ways available to us to do so.
As found in the Gospel: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matt. 25:40). “When we show up and listen, we serve in an immeasurable way. If you wish to get more information on Notre-Dame de la rue, or to contribute by your presence or by making a donation, please visit their Web page on the Archdiocese website at: https://www.diocesemontreal.org/fr/archidiocese/notre-dame-de-la-rue