Depuis cinq ans déjà, notre archevêque, Mgr Marcel Gervais, s'exprime sur une variété de questions liées à la foi. Ces textes ont d'abord été publiés dans le Ottawa Citizen sous la rubrique «Ask the religion experts» . La traduction est faite par M. Gilles Ouellette d.p. À compter du mois de juin 2005, Mgr Patrick Powers, Vicaire général, assumera cette responsabilité.

During the frantic holiday season, what steps can people take to stay focused on their faith and spirituality?

Some of our parishioners participate in the Eucharist each day of the year, while others make a point of doing so during the Advent and Christmas seasons which leads up to the Epiphany. This is a privileged manner of preparation. Those who do it report that this half hour of praise, private meditation and community prayer provides them with a spiritual anchor that doesnt only help them to cope; it helps them to grow. Interestingly, while some simply dont have the time, one woman told me that, paradoxically, once she began coming to Church daily, she got more done throughout the rest of the day.

Others set aside quiet times. Some choose the early morning while others take time at the end of the day. During these times, quite a few of follow a programme of spiritual readings which could be reading parts of a special book, or others meditating on the prescribed readings for the Eucharist each day. Yet others spend the time in prayer while listening to inspiring music.

Many families have continued to use the advent wreath at mealtimes. They really enjoy this practice because it allows all the family members to take turns participating, with the wreath being at the center of the family table. Another family I know involve their children, in decorating the tree and also in adding something to the manger scene each day - not only leading up to Christmas - but right through to the Epiphany - and always concentrating of the spiritual meaning.

Schedules are so complicated today that no one method works for everyone. The key is to keep trying to find one, or a combination of parts of several possibilities, that works for your particular situation. From what I see though, doing something seems to make all the difference in the world!