On Saturday, January 5, Archbishop Lépine celebrated a Mass at Saint Joseph’s Oratory in anticipation of Saint Brother André’s feast day. Many members of the Knights of Columbus were in attendance.
Saint André Bessette’s feast day is celebrated every January 7th. Brother André, born Alfred Bessette, remains one of the most popular Quebecers of the 20th century. Long before he was canonized in 2010, Brother André’s reputation for holiness spread across borders and marked generations: in fact, many miraculous healings have been attributed to him.
Most Rev. Lépine celebrated this Eucharist that concluded a novena to Saint Brother André as well as the annual Knights of Columbus pilgrimage. In fact, each year the Knights of Columbus from Eastern Canada make a pilgrimage to Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal (those from the West go to Saint-Anne de Beaupré) to end this novena.
Pilgrims filled the crypt and the Knights of Columbus, in uniform, gave a solemn note to the ceremony.
In his homily, Msgr. Lépine spoke about the call of the Wise Men who came to worship the Child Jesus. The Lord called them to search for Him, and like them “each one of us is called to get out of our comfort zone, and allow ourselves to be touched by the Lord.”
Whatever the age, be it at the time of the Magi or today, people are searching for meaning in their lives, an experience, a sense of reassurance, the power of love, an ear to listen, strength. And so, “when we search for these things, it is God we are searching for: because man is made for God and searching for God is also allowing oneself to be found by God.”
Lépine questioned the assembly, asking them what they can do to welcome those who are searching for God: “Are we open and listening? Do we pray for them? How can we do this? There are people everywhere who, like the Magi, are searching for God.”
On this eve of the Feast of Saint Brother André, Archbishop Lépine concluded with an invitation to pray to Saint Joseph and his instrument, Saint Brother André, so that “we remain sensitive to those who are searching for healing of heart and mind.”
In fact, Saint Brother André, porter at Collège Notre-Dame and guardian of the oratory, welcomed thousands of people who were suffering or searching for hope. He listened to them, and encouraged them to pray to Saint Joseph who he trusted so completely. Many miraculous healings took place and many hearts were opened to God.
The celebration ended with the official salute of the Knights of Columbus and the prayer of the Novena to Bother André.
The Knights of Columbus made a Guard of Honor salute for the celebrants at the recessional.