As part of his ongoing travels throughout the Archdiocese of Toronto, visiting, celebrating and getting to know the rich diversity of our archdiocesan family, Archbishop Francis Leo recently had the opportunity to meet with the Discalced Carmelite Sisters who reside in Zephyr, Ontario. The community is the only contemplative female order in the archdiocese. The sisters have devoted their lives to prayer and live in a cloistered monastery, following a contemplative lifestyle.
“It was such a joy to meet with the Carmelite Sisters of the Infant Jesus”, said Archbishop Leo.
“These extraordinary women of faith manifest a deep love for the Lord, Our Lady and Holy Mother Church and have devoted their entire lives to prayer and service to and for the Body of Christ, with a special attention to prayer for priests in the Church. In a world that suggests our success and status is achieved by our possessions and wealth, these sisters in Christ are a shining example of the importance of humility and sacrifice and seeking first and foremost the Kingdom of Christ. I was very much edified by my time with them.
"It is clear that God’s love is present in abundance in their community, which is filled with joy, a tangible fruit of the Holy Spirit. Let us give thanks for their wonderful example of fidelity, service and charity and let us pray for them as they support, through sacrifices and intercession, the Church’s evangelization efforts in bringing Christ to the world. I hope that many young women will consider this special vocation in the Church and will pray for discernment to follow Jesus as a Carmelite sister.”
Archbishop Leo has been enjoying the opportunity to meet with the faithful at many events throughout the archdiocese. In late May 2023, His Grace had the opportunity to visit Our Lady of the Airways, a parish in Mississauga with close proximity to Pearson International Airport. A question often asked is, “How did this parish get its name?” (from the parish website) The aircrafts overhead were a constant reminder of the air age and the proximity of the airport. The church served many Roman Catholic travelers who passed through the airport until an Airport Chaplaincy was established in 1980. The parochial motto is “Super Pennas Ventorum”, which means in English, “Upon the Wings of the Wind”. Father Ralph Egan felt that the name “Our Lady of the Airways” was the only appropriate name for this mission because it was so closely associated with the airport.
Today, the parish is led by the pastor, Rev. Ruggiero DiBenedetto. As part of our diverse archdiocese, the parish offers Mass each week in English, Italian and Tamil. Archbishop Leo had a chance to meet and interact with many parishioners during his visit, learning more about the history of the parish and getting to know the diverse community that makes up this vibrant faith community.
He presided the Holy Eucharist in Italian and in English. Furthermore, there was a beautiful moment of encounter with the Catholic Tamil Community of Our Lady of Fatima. Mass was celebrated in the afternoon and Archbishop Leo was able to meet the faithful and encourage them with words of recognition and support for the vibrancy and cultural diversity of this community.
It was a very special time to acknowledge the richness of the Catholic faith in its different cultural and linguistic expressions. Rev. Guymar Felix Canisius Raj and other clergy and faithful were very gracious in welcoming our new Chief Shepherd, Archbishop Leo and great joy was experienced by all the participants.