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Week of February 1, 2018

Beginnings – Candlemas – Bertrand soon with us – Mardi Gras and Lent – Bible study in Lent – Patrick plays Bach – PPP– SJAG and aboriginal issues – LGBTQ+ skating party – The Essex Serpent – Forum – Notice of General Vestry Meeting – Nuit blanche programme – Compline volunteers – Chancel Guild needs volunteers – Pledges, please

Dear Friend of the Cathedral

Here we are, at the beginning of a new month, the start of a new liturgical season, and the beginning of a new ministry with our Dean Bertrand Olivier—three  beginnings to challenge and cheer us.

This Sunday, February 4, we will read the story of the Presentation of Jesus in the temple and also celebrate Candlemas, marking the end of the Epiphany season. According to Common Worship “Simeon’s final words move our attention away from the celebration of Christmas, towards the mysteries of Easter.” During the 10 am Eucharist on Sunday and the special choral Eucharist at 12:15 on Friday, there will be a ceremony lighting and blessing the candles held by the congregation. Tapers will be distributed, and you can also bring a candle from home to be blessed. Vivian will preach at 8 and 10; Jean-Daniel, at 12:45.

The following Sunday, February 11, will be a joyful occasion when most of us will meet Bertrand for the first time. The weather will probably be freezing, but our welcome will be warm and loving. Natasha is busy organizing food and drink for the reception in Fulford Hall. You are all invited.


We hope to see many of you back in Fulford Hall on February 13. What better way to say “I love you” than to invite your favourite person to join you for the Shrove Tuesday – Mardi Gras – Valentine’s Day pancake supper. When I first came to Canada it was part of my culture shock to discover that Canadian pancakes are not at all like English pancakes which are thin crêpes, rolled and sprinkled with lemon juice and sugar. However, George Deare and his team make great fluffy Canadian pancakes served with irresistible well-browned sausages. The supper starts at 6 pm in Fulford Hall. Cost $7 per person or $10 per family. Wine and soft drinks will be sold.

Lent begins the following day, February 14. There will be three Eucharists, each with imposition of ashes: at 7:30 am, 12:15 pm (choral) and 7:30 pm (choral).  (The image is from Holy Trinity in Boston).

Amy is organizing a Lenten Study this year entitled “Teach Us To Pray,” based on the writings of Margaret Guenther, a noted Episcopalian spiritual director, writer, and teacher.  Do come on Mondays in Lent, beginning on February 19. We’ll meet in Fulford Hall at 6:30 for a light supper of soup and cheese and fruit, and then explore different forms of and ideas about prayer. Please sign up so we can have a bowl of soup and your study materials ready!  There will be a clipboard at Coffee Hour for the next two Sundays, or contact the office. The excerpt below is from Guenther’s essay, “Prayer as Conversation.”

Almost everyone experiences times when God seems inattentive to what we have to say, if not entirely absent. Yet if we trust the promise of scripture that God desires an intimate relationship with us, we are impelled to communicate, to enter into the conversation of prayer. This conversation is a two-way street, however, and we need to do our share of listening.  The question is, how do we listen to what God has to say….:”

Sometimes God speaks to us through music, and this seems to me particularly true when I’m listening to Bach. This Saturday (Feb 3) at 4:30, Patrick will present the second in his series of Bach’s music for the organ. You can see the programme for “Bach at the Cathedral” on the Oasis musicale web site

Patrick’s recital will be the second of two concerts on Saturday. The first, at 2 pm, Rhythmes et couleurs des Balkans features Viktor Lazarov on the piano. He was interviewed for the January 23 Capital Campaign blog Rising Up where he gave his impression of the cathedral piano, explaining why we need an even better one.

This week’s blog is a fascinating description of the cathedral’s architecture written by Julia Gersovitz. You can find these weekly blogs on the cathedral’s website  I learn something new from them every week.


  1. Pain, partage et prière, the French Bible study and prayer group, meets at 2 pm in the Hollis Lounge (Fulford Hall)
  2. SJAG has invited lawyer Catherine Fagan, a member of our congregation, to speak to us during coffee hour.  She practices in the areas of Aboriginal, constitutional, and environmental law, working exclusively with Aboriginal clients. Come with your cup of coffee to hear what she has to say and ask your questions about the many aboriginal issues which have been in the news.

SJAG has long been concerned with the issue of justice for Canada’s Aboriginal people. Jan Jorgensen informs us that SJAG has just received an update from some of our ecumenical colleagues that the second hour of debate regarding Private Member’s Bill C-262, (An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) has been moved up to next Monday, February 5 and the vote will take place on February 7. If you have not contacted your Member of Parliament already, please call their office to register your support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ask whether your MP will vote in favour of Bill C-262. Assuming Bill C-262 passes the vote on February 7, there will still be a role for continued advocacy as it goes through the committee processes.

Members of the LGBTQ+ group at the Cathedral are holding a Skating Party and welcome Supper for our new Dean, Saturday, February 17th, 4 pm skating or walking at Parc Lafontaine, followed by supper at 5:30 p.m. For details, speak to Rev’d Jean-Jacques, or Joseph Hafner, or Louis Grondin.

LGBTQ+ Soirée de patinage et souper de Bienvenue pour notre nouveau doyen, samedi le 17 février à 16 h, patinage ou randonnée pédestre au Parc Lafontaine, suivi du souper à 17h30. Pour plus d’information, parlez au révérend Jean-Jacques, ou à Louis Grondin ou Joseph Hafner.

The Cathedral Reading Group will discuss The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry on Sunday, March 4 at 7 pm. Set in a small village in the Essex marshes at the end of the 19th century which is being terrorized by a winged leviathan, the Guardian calls it a gothic Victorian tale crammed with incident, character and plot. All is not dark, however, for the Washington post described its heroine as the most delightful heroine since Elizabeth Bennet, and Goodreads considered the novel a celebration of love. If you would like to borrow a copy please speak to Ann Elbourne.

Reserve the evening of February 20, for a meeting of Forum at 6:30 in Fulford Hall when Bertrand will be present. Light refreshments will be served from 6 pm.


One of the topics on the agenda will be the final plans for Nuit blanche, the evening of March 3 when the whole city is partying. We are hoping that the construction on Ste Catherine won’t keep people away from this part of town. Catherine St Arnaud and Cassidy VanderSchee have put together a great programme of music, starting with Patrick’s third Bach recital and finishing with jazz in the wee small hours. Two choirs, Sympholies vocales and the Choeur gai de Montréal will each give 3 concerts. Anna Lewin, one of the professional vocalists with the Cathedral Singers, will lead compline sung to Gregorian Chant by candlelight. We are looking for people who will form a group leading the congregational responses. As there was last year, there will be a short rehearsal before the service. Please let Catherine, Cassidy or me know if you’d like to be part of that group. Catherine and Cassidy are signing up other volunteers to be greeters and to count the visitors. Michèle Rattray is organizing hot chocolate volunteers.


February is Annual General Vestry season. Here is the formal notice from the Cathedral: The annual vestry meeting of Christ Church Cathedral will be opened on Sunday, February 18, 2018, after the dismissal of the 10 am service.  A motion will immediately be put to the floor to reconvene the meeting to March 18, 2018.


The Chancel Guild’s Brass, Linen and Flower groups need new volunteers. Training / mentoring will be available. Please contact Rob Wells or any Chancel Guild member for information on these important Cathedral ministries.


 Did you see the reminder about annual pledges from our bookkeeper and treasurer last week? You are asked to predict your giving by making a pledge, which can be changed if your circumstances require. Small as well as large pledges are welcome—together, they allow Jane to prepare a realistic budget!

Wishing you all the happiness of new beginnings


This quotation from TS Eliot, meditating on Simeon in the temple, is in Sunday’s bulletin. You can find the rest of his poem “A Song For Simeon” here.

Before the time of cords and scourges and lamentation
Grant us thy peace.
Before the stations of the mountain of desolation,
Before the certain hour of maternal sorrow,
Now at this birth season of decease,
Let the Infant, the still unspeaking and unspoken Word,
Grant Israel’s consolation
To one who has eighty years and no to-morrow.



To receive this Newsletter earlier by email, and with it, additions like the Forum agenda, financial updates, minutes and reports, posters, photos, etc., simply send your coordinates to the Cathedral office…  the failsafe method is to email both Newsletter author and parish volunteer Ann Elbourne  and Parish Administrator Elizabeth Shama  .

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