I'm a lifelong Catholic and I've been a member of different parishes along the way. St. Mary's was the first parish where you could tangibly feel that everyone there seemed to treasure the Eucharist and was excited about going to mass. I've been to churches where it seemed that some wanted to be there and others were dragged there. It was wonderful at St. Mary's to belong to a community where we didn't behave as "typical Catholics" all quiet and reserved but I felt it was like having a glimpse of heaven where we were joining together to praise our God, and attempting to give Him the glory that is His.Fr. Bob Bedard is the founder of The Companions of the Cross, a growing community of priests based out of St. Mary's Parish in Ottawa initially and now with priests in Toronto, Nova Scotia, and Houston, Texas. I belong to another parish in Ottawa presently but treasured my time when I attended St. Mary's.
When I think of the Companions, I think of evangelization. Never before have I witnessed it so clearly in their actions or had it taught to me in such basic terms. Sunday homilies were a highlight, challenging us, teaching us and encouraging us to go out wherever we were and live our lives for God.
Back in 1984, Fr. Bob Bedard started to have weekly meetings with 4 men who were planning to enter the seminary to provide mutual spiritual support. From those initial meetings, they felt the Lord was calling them to something bigger and they soon began the process of forming a community. In 2003, Canada's first religious order of Catholic priests in over 50 years was recognized officially. At a time when vocations are dwindling, the Companions of the Cross continue to grow. One of the differences they have made to ensure that a parish priest is not alone is making sure that they live in community to support one another. For some young men apprehensive about the solitary life of a priest, that has made the difference.
The Companions are Eucharistic, Charismatic, Marian and Magisterial.
"We are a Eucharistic community, believing the sacrifice of the Mass to be the principal source and summit of the Christian life. We also promote exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in each of our parishes, perpetual adoration if possible.
We are charismatic. We actively use the Corinthian gifts in ministry. We seek the wisdom of God and his power. We place emphasis on spontaneous praise, which includes singing in the Spirit and appropriate gestures. We engage in spiritual warfare when it is indicated. We hold the ministry of inner healing to be very important.
We wish to make a proper place for Mary, mother of Jesus and our mother, in the living out of our call. We are consecrated through her to Jesus, her Son and our Lord. We engage in and promote devotion to her in different ways, especially the Rosary.
We are loyal to the Magisterium, the authoritative teaching office of the Catholic Church. We want to be fully Catholic in every possible way, nothing more, but nothing less"
Taken from the Companions of the Cross official website.
Read more in a (Catholic Insight article from 1997)...