CATHOLIC REGISTER REPORT: St. Joseph’s Oratory will celebrate the feast day of its founder, the recently canonized St. Brother André, on Jan. 6. The only difference this year is the universal Church will be joining the Montreal community in these celebrations.
“Liturgically speaking, a person whose cause has been introduced for canonization can be publicly celebrated as a feast only locally — that is to say, where the person worked or died,” said Fr. Charles Corso, a Holy Cross priest at the Oratory in Montreal. “But once the person is canonized, that means that anywhere in the world people can celebrate an official liturgical feast day Mass.”
St. Brother André was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on Oct. 17, when he became the first male born on Canadian soil elevated to sainthood.
Corso said there have been Masses to celebrate the feast day at the Oratory for years, so this year won’t be much different in Montreal. He adds that through the Congregation of Holy Cross, there have been Masses for Brother André when he became Venerable, then Blessed, around the world.
“But we will expect more people to come,” he said. “Other than that, we’ve been honouring Brother André for years and years.
“What canonization means is that all around the world he’s held up as a model for Catholics: his life, his way of holiness, his humility... The universal Church may now celebrate his feast day.”
The Oratory’s official choir, Les Petits Chanteurs de Mont-Royal, will be singing at the 7:30 p.m. Mass, Corso said. The choir is made up of singers from the all-boys choir school, which goes by the same name. As well, select Masses throughout the day will have congregational singing with organ accompaniment, which doesn’t usually happen on a weekday, he said.
It won’t be the only celebration, however. Since the weather is always very cold and blustery in Montreal on Jan. 6, it’s hard to celebrate, said Corso.
“So what we do in the month of August — he was born on Aug. 9 — we sort of transfer a number of special activities for celebrating his birthday as a feast,” such as a pilgrimage to his birth place. “There’s probably more celebration and activities in August than in January.”