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Holy Spirit Day 2016

18-04-2016

On April 10th, Mary Queen of the World Cathedral hosted over 700 confirmands across Montreal, and their families, to celebrate Holy Spirit Day. It was standing room only as the Cathedral was packed!

This is the 15th year in which confirmation candidates, across the island of Montreal, gather for Holy Spirit Day at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral.  It was an impressive sight to see these young, soon to be full members of the faith, gather in the accompaniment of their parents, sponsors, and Parish Catechetical Leaders (PCL).  PCLs held parish signs as over 700 confirmands and their families entered the Cathedral.  In total, 26 parishes from the English-speaking community participated in this event; we were over 1400 people at the Cathedral. 

Holy Spirit Day allows confirmands to understand the history of the Church in Quebec and her connection to the global community of faith. Equally important, it allows these youths to feel a strong sense of solidarity with their fellow candidates from other parishes.

The afternoon began with a scavenger hunt, and by two o'clock the Cathedral was filled with youth learning about the Cathedral's chapels, shrines, paintings, and statues.  We were blessed to have the paintings come alive; Jeanne Mance, Marguerite Bourgeoys, St. Brother André, and Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve were present in the flesh (so to speak) to answer questions and talk about their life in ministry.

This year's Holy Spirit Day had a very unique addition: the Holy Door of Mercy.  A Holy Door is a special door in a cathedral, basilica, or parish, which signifies the start of a special pilgrimage. Once they completed their scavenger hunt, parents accepted the invitation of Pope Francis and journeyed with their children through the Holy Door of Mercy.  Their journey led them to reflect and pray on how God continues to demonstrate His mercy in their lives, and how they will decide as a family to carry out at least one of the corporal, or spiritual, works of mercy.

For the second part of this special afternoon, confirmands learned about the architectural significance of the Cathedral from Fr. Jean-Pierre Couturier of Missione Maria Ausiliatrice.  Afterwards, they received a motivational talk from Fr. Fred Kirouac (pastor of St. Veronica) reminding them of the importance of Confirmation - they are being confirmed to have the strength needed to be witnesses.  He encouraged them to make disciples of their friends, classmates, and teammates.  Fr. Fred also urged them to encourage the Catholics they know to join them in practicing their faith.   To close, the confirmands extended their arms towards their sponsors, parents, and PCLs, and prayed for them.  It was a beautiful sight to see them united and praying as mature members of our faith.

This day could not have been a success without the support of the PCLs, confirmands, sponsors, parents, grandparents, and siblings, who turned out in great numbers and with electrifying energy.  The Holy Spirit was truly felt among these youth! For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20). Amen!

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