The comforting words of Scripture - “For I know that my Redeemer lives” (Job 19:25) - was proclaimed at Madonna Della Difesa Parish during a special mass held Nov. 13. Throughout November, the month of Holy Souls, the Church celebrates the memory of saints and of all faithful departed. The Montreal Italian community was invited to take part in the commemorative mass, organized by the Repos Saint-François d’Assise.

It is in the magnificent church that was held, Nov. 13, a Commemorative Mass in recognition of all the dead. The event, organized by the Repos Saint-François d’Assise and presided by the Most Rev. Lépine, Archbishop of Montreal, was meant to be a moment of meditation for the Italian-speaking community of the Chiesa Madonna Della Difesa parish (Notre-Dame-de-la-Défense), located in Little Italy.

The celebration was carried by the beautiful musical animation of tenor Perry Canestrari and soprano Julie Lafontaine, accompanied at the piano, the harp and the cello by three musicians. The assembly enjoyed listening to some great classics, among which Schubert’s Ave Maria and, even, The Prayer.

Fr. Pierangelo Paternieri, c. s., E.V., Director of the Office for Cultural and Ritual Communities and parish administrator, and Fr. Pietro Paolo Gennuso, Parish Vicar at Notre-Dame-de-la-Défense, concelebrated.

The Strength of Today’s Memory

In his homily, Archbishop Lépine recalled, “the strength of history […] the strength of history in the present.” That is why when we go through the hardship of mourning and of losing loved ones, remembering becomes essential: “Because the past is a story of love, of gifts, of forgiveness and of cohabitation, living today. Because the past, when life and love are highly present, becomes a force, the strength of history, the presence of history in the present,” said Archbishop Lépine. “After the passing of the loved one, the present might seem completely shattered; yet, the memory of that death and the hope of Eternal Life are strengths to live today.” In November, when we commemorate the dead, our time is dedicated “to faith, memory and hope.” Remembering is important: it nourishes life,” he said.

His Light in the Future

“Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am.” (John 17:24). Citing Jesus’s words from the Gospel, Archbishop Lépine recalled the hope Christians lean on, the hope that “eternal life is the future.” “The future brightens up the present through hope [and] the past and present are in His hands. […] He puts everything in His hands.” As he said in his own words, remembering enables us to continue to live while hanging on to “the Peace that only Christ can give, the vitality that only the Holy Spirit can give.” The Archbishop concluded by lighting the Paschal candle, as if it were Holy Saturday, to remind us that we are all called like Christ to resurrection. A moment of silence followed to entrust to God all the loved ones.

At the end of the celebration, a light buffet was offered by the Repos Saint-François d’Assise. The parishioners present seized that moment to discuss and to meet with Archbishop Lépine.