It was Friday the 13th; nonetheless, Montreal's cathedral, our cathedral, would be consecrated to God, during a majestic celebration, in the presence of a cheering assembly.
Smiling, the Archbishop of Montreal, Most Reverend Christian Lépine, said, "We had taken for granted that our cathedral had been consecrated... Well, it hadn't! We came to this realization a few years ago, when we were looking for the consecration crosses... When we discovered that the cathedral didn't have any, we did some research, and confirmed this oversight." (For the story behind this oversight, click here)
For this solemnity, Most Rev. Lépine was accompanied by Bishop Alain Faubert, Auxiliary Bishop of Montreal, Most Rev. Luigi Bonazzi, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, and several other, namely Bishop Lionel Gendron, the newly appointed President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Noël Simard, also recently elected, President of the Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops. Approximately one hundred priests, deacons, seminarians, and religious men and women were present with them. Mayor of Montreal Denis Coderre was also at the celebration.
The cathedral was magnificently decorated! Fr. Julien Huron, vicar of the cathedral, made sure that this fabulous celebration was a beautiful one: "He's an artist at heart," said Fr. Stéphane Roy, chaplain of the Bordeaux Prison. He believes that beauty is an attribute of God, and he has enriched the ceremonial of ancient Church rituals that we had lost touch with, such as the flames burning at the altar. He has been working on it for months. He has this charism, and I believe that the Archbishop saw it in him."
The consecration of a church is the greatest of sacramentals. It recalls the three sacraments if Christian initiation: the sprinkling of water, which represents Baptism, the anointing of the twelve consecration crosses and of the altar with Sacred Chrism, like with Confirmation, and then the Eucharistic celebration at the altar. Father Hudon said, "It's like the building's initiation, the church is dedicated for the Lord's worship. The chancel is regularly adorned with vases of flowers, resembling the Garden of Eden, and this place is like the new Jerusalem, saved by Christ!"
In his homily, Archbishop Lépine insisted on the cathedral's importance as a place of welcome: "This cathedral is here for you. It is here for Jesus Christ. It is a missionary place, a place of encounter... it isn't here for its own purposes! The Church does not exist for herself, but for all humanity. Divides are a waste of time. Time is for the mission. This consecration proclaims a renewal, a time of hope, and hope, as Charles Péguy once said, is what drives us onward! Hope is essential to charity and faith."
The consecration of Mary Queen of the World Cathedral is the culmination of the diocesan Triduum. It all began on September 29, on the feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael to join in prayer with the angels and archangels. It continued on October 7, on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, with the prayer of the Rosary, Mass and consecration of Canada to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It then came to a close on October 13, on the 100th anniversary of the last apparition of Our Lady at Fatima.
VIEW THE COMPLETE CELEBRATION HERE