These last two Sundays, I had the grace of experiencing the Eucharist outdoors, next to the Basilica, following the invitation of Father Gilles Roberge, priest at Cap-de-la Madeleine, who says that, in these difficult times, his resolution for the year is to look at what he can do, rather than dwelling on what he can no longer do."
His response to civil authorities, who close churches as a precaution, is simply to celebrate mass outdoors even in the freezing cold. All health measures are of course respected: distancing and wearing a mask.
To our great surprise, many people, including small families, come to participate (a hundred at least) and are overjoyed with the experience. Those who are more sensitive to the cold stay in their car; they open the window and hear the celebration aired on loudspeakers. At communion time, a priest brings them communion to their car. Children play in the snowbanks while adults kneel in the snow to worship the Lord. Those who wish can go to confession anytime during mass. We sing while hopping about and clapping mittened hands to ward off the cold... and everyone is happy.
At these, I experienced real moments of solidarity and faith in love and joy. God is truly present at the heart of his Church. God has not forgotten us. And each time I am given this grace to go to Mass outside the Basilica, I bring all the Oblates with me! Looking at the tops of the trees not far from the little Sanctuary, I contemplate in faith in this blessed place the gift of all the Oblate vocations and I give thanks to the Lord for Father Parent who also carried this place in his heart.
No, God has not forgotten us; he is truly with us, as is Mary as well!
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