April 10, 2010

The John Paul the Great Family Centre formally opened in Toronto on Saturday, April 10, 2010, the Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday in the presence of the Archbishop Thomas Collins, Fr. Carlos Miguel Buela, our founder, a large number of priests, seminarians, and sisters of our Province, parishioners and local civil officials.

Ten Years of Prayers
Since 2000, the parish community of St. Augustine of Canterbury in Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighborhood has been praying and working to build a Family Centre– a safe place where children, youth, adults, and the elderly could meet for prayer groups, catechism, retreats, Bible studies, as well as cultural and arts presentations.  The building permit was finally granted in June 2009, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, after which construction began immediately.

Divine Mercy and John Paul the Great
Our celebration culminated in the Vigil Mass of Divine Mercy Sunday, marking the fifth liturgical anniversary of John Paul II’s death.  During the closing remarks, Fr. Daniel Mentesana, IVE, the longtime pastor, noted how appropriate it was that the Family Centre is under the patronage of John Paul the Great since he is considered the father of the IVE.  This spiritual fatherhood is particularly attributed to the fact that John Paul II consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 1984 in fulfillment of the request of Our Lady of Fatima, the same day on which the Institute of the Incarnate Word was born into the Church.  In the face of so many obstacles, the John Paul II Family Centre could not have been opened without his intercession, Fr. Mentesana said. Read his complete chronicle of thanksgiving (text in Spanish).

An International Parish Celebrates Together
In the reception that followed the grand opening and Mass, various parish groups performed traditional songs or dances representing their diverse nationalities – Ghana, Mexico, Philippines, Italy, China.

Home to many of the immigrant families of Toronto, our North York parish community has grown exponentially since its foundation in 1967 to include parishioners from more than 40 different countries. The six weekend Masses as well as the various parish events are held in English, Italian and Spanish.

The Visit of Our Founder
On Sunday, Fr. Buela celebrated a private Mass for the seminarians and sisters who had come for the opening. It is always a great grace for members of a congregation to live in the time of the founder.

Let us pray through the intercession of our Blessed Mother that this work of our Religious Family may bear much fruit and bring many families to the joy of Christian life.