On Saturday, Oct. 13, we had a votive Mass for the Immaculate Conception, followed by breakfast in the parish hall, and a talk by Dennis and Angelina Girard about devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Behind them is a replica of the miraculous statue of Our Lady of the Cape at Canada’s national Marian shrine.
Then, on Sunday, we re-inaugurated our renovated Lady Chapel.
Dennis Girard is a cradle Catholic who fell away from the faith, then found it again through the evangelical world, before returning to the faith. His wife Angelina is a convert. They believe they have discovered a recipe for renewal, through researching what paved the way for an explosion of Marian devotion and Catholic faith in the province of Quebec in the late 1800s that led to its being the most faithfully Catholic of all the Canadian provinces.
Alas, during the Quiet Revolution of the 1970s, that most Catholic province while still having the highest number of baptized Catholics, has the lowest church attendance, the highest number of babies born out of wedlock, and other signs of family breakdown. Quebec, the first diocese in North America, used to encompass most of the landmass down to New Orleans. It is in need of a revival!
So, the Girards came to tell us about the story of how a priest found a pig chewing on a rosary in his often empty church and made a vow to enroll people in the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary, an ancient Catholic association entrusted to the Dominicans. In a few years he had enrolled thousands; the church became too small; they began praying the rosary for a new church—-there was a miracle “ice bridge” that formed on the Feast of St. Joseph during a year the St. Lawrence River never froze over, and over this ice bridge –a bunch of ice floes strung together—they were able to transport the stones needed for the foundation of what has become Canada’s National Marian Shrine of Our Lady of the Cape, or Notre-Dame-du- Cap in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. Below is a black and white photo of Our Lady of the Cape the Girards gave to our parish. In 1888, three people observed her eyes open and her face take on a human appearance in the so-called “Miracle of the Eyes.”
We have several people in our parish who would like to familiarize themselves with the Rosary and the Girards produced a wonderful DVD that incorporates great Catholic art to illustrate the mysteries, coupled with quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Scripture and from great saints. The Girards made a canvas showing various depictions of the four sets of mysteries of the Rosary that Fr. Doug Hayman now has up on the wall of our Lady Chapel to assist in meditation.
Our Lord now resides in the tabernacle in the Lady Chapel which will become a place for Adoration, recitation of the Rosary and for prayer as we discern what plans Our Lady has for our little parish and its role in evangelization and revival. It is an exciting time.
Here are some more pictures of the blessing of our Lady Chapel, and some features inside, but first a close up of Our Lady of Walsingham from inside our parish. Both Our Lady of the Cape and Our Lady of Walsingham were canonically crowned in 1954 (a crowning authorized by a Pope or his representative), on the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.