A 78-year tradition in faith was observed Sunday as crowds gathered at St. Ann's Catholic Church (STEPHEN UHLER - Daily Observer)
CORMAC A 78-year tradition in faith was observed Sunday as crowds gathered at St. Ann's Catholic Church to take part in the Pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. Ann.
Hundreds of the faithful from across Renfrew County and beyond, perhaps as many as 3,000, converged on the parish, located on Highway 512 between Eganville and Foymount, to celebrate a day of Mass, prayer and healing in honor of the grandmother of Jesus.
Bishop Michael Mulhall, Bishop of Pembroke, spoke to those assembled for the principle Pilgrimage Mass about the importance of splitting off the needs of the physical world from the spiritual, and to realize everything we now enjoy in life we owe to God.
Mulhall referenced Jesus parable of the foolish rich man, and quoted from Luke 12:16-21, stating,
He spoke a parable to them, saying, "The ground of a certain rich man brought forth abundantly. He reasoned within himself, saying, 'What will I do, because I don't have room to store my crops?' He said, 'This is what I will do. I will pull down my barns, and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. I will tell my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink, be merry."' "But God said to him, 'You foolish one, tonight your soul is required of you. The things which you have preparedwhose will they be?' So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
This is one which we can all very, very easily understand, Mulhall said. We are all drawn into the sense of security that if I can have one more barn, one more bank account, then I would be more secure in my future, he said, asking what good is it to have all of these extra things if God decides to call you home this very day?
He said what people forget is all of which they possess is not really theirs, but is given to them by the Lord, for which they are to show good stewardship over, and not do with as they please. He said the world itself is in trouble because humanity has forgotten that basic truth. As a result, people everywhere have become consumers, where they are driven to consume more, and obsess on hanging onto what they already have in their possession.
The value of being a human is whittled down to being just consumers, Mulhall said, and so debasing the value of humanity. He said it is this sort of attitude which has led to the acceptance of euthanasia, where people think their life is theres to do with as they please, rather than remember it was given to them by the Lord to take care of as best as they can.
The solution to this is simple, he said. Divorce oneself from the needs of materialism by realizing all that you possess in the physical world isnt yours in the first place. Realize that what one must truly value isnt in this world.
Where does your treasure lie? It lies with The Lord, he said.
In an annual tradition stretching back to 1938, Cormac has become the centre of faith and renewal in the heart of the Ottawa Valley. It serves both as a display of faith and as a chance for people to reunite with family and friends who also make the trip year after year.
Sunday's pilgrimage service completes a three-day mini-retreat of prayer and meditation known as a Triduum for the clergy, which prepares them for a day which includes the morning mass at 11 a.m. and the mass of healing for the sick, which followed at 2 p.m.
New this year was the first ever Opeongo Line pilgrimage from Renfrew to Cormac. Started by Father Scott Murray, parishioners and others of faith followed the old Opeongo Line on foot, making the 66 km trip in three days, in time to take part in Sundays Mass.
This was the first time Father Kenneth OBrien attended the Pilgrimage as the parishs priest. After spending his first summer as a priest in Eganville after being ordained in 1974, his service remained within the diocese. Last fall, he was appointed as Pastor in Eganville, Cormac and Pikwàkanagàn. On Wednesdays, he is also the chaplain at Marianhill, a position he has held for the past 28 years.
Father Howard Chabot returned to St. Anns after 40 years to conduct the Triduum and Healing Mass for a second time. is a priest of the diocese of Pembroke. Ordained in 1968, he is now retired from full time parish ministry. He has experience in social services and religious education and is respected as a priest and teacher who continues to preach retreats and assist in weekend replacement throughout the diocese.