Canada Celebrates Canonization of Brother André

Some 5,000 in Rome for Mass, Events Planned in Montreal

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MONTREAL, Canada, OCT. 15, 2010 ( A celebration of Catholicism in Canada is perhaps the best way to describe the events leading up to the canonization of Blessed Brother André Bessett on Sunday at St. Peter’s in Rome.

As many as 5,000 Canadian Catholics are making the pilgrimage to Rome to attend the proclamation of Brother André as Canada’s first native-born male saint, according to Eric Durocher, coordinator for English Pastoral Services for the Archdiocese of Montreal.

Additionally, the Archdiocese of Montreal has organized several events for the pilgrims that have chosen to celebrate the canonization of Brother André in the city where he served for most of his ministry.

St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, which was founded by Brother André in 1904, will be the central focus for activities before and during the canonization ceremonies. An all night prayer vigil will be held at the Oratory; uniting pilgrims in Rome and in Canada in prayerful reflection and celebration of Brother André’s spiritual life and heritage.

Throughout the overnight vigil, activities are planned in conjunction with the Congregation of the Holy Cross Fathers, the community to which St. André belonged, and the Archdiocese of Montreal. The events of the vigil will begin with a Lucenarium (candlelight prayer) followed with presentations of lectures on the life of Brother André by groups with which he was closely associated.

Night prayer in the style of the Monastery of Taizé is followed with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the celebration of lauds (morning prayer), and finally a procession from the tomb of Brother André to the Basilica of St. Joseph.

Live telecast

Canadian pilgrims will then view the live telecast of the canonization ceremony, which will be presided over by Benedict XVI. In addition to Brother Andre, the Pope will canonize five others, including Australia’s first native-born saint, Sister Mary MacKillop.

After viewing the canonization Mass, a Mass will follow in the Basilica of St. Joseph, which will include public display of an icon depicting St. André, painted by a local iconographer from Brother André’s home diocese of Saint-Hyacinthe.

Throughout the rest of the day, there will be a special concert in the crypt church with chamber music and then a carillon recital. The celebration of the canonization will conclude with an organ concert at the Basilica of St. Joseph.

Next Wednesday, the Archdiocese of Montreal, in coordination with the Oratory of Mount St. Joseph, will host a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Montreal Olympic Stadium beginning at 2:00 p.m.

This Mass is a national celebration for the entire Catholic Church in Canada, and pilgrims are anticipated from all over the country and the world. The celebrants of the liturgy will be the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Durocher told ZENIT that 40,000 tickets have already been purchased to attend the liturgy. Expectations are that the Olympic Stadium will exceed its 50,000 capacity as Canadians from all parts of the country turn out to celebrate the life and ministry of St. André.

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