Holy Spirit Province Saint-Esprit
Franciscans of CanadaFranciscains du Canada

Ordo Fratrum Minorum

Christmas on the Islands

Christmas on the Islands

There is something quite special about living on an island among other islands. For example, one is dependent on ferries. This means that life is quite different from just hopping into my car and drive wherever I want and whenever I want. On the islands, the ferry schedule rules. And there is much waiting. However, patience is easy to come by, as there is really no alternative. When living on an island, mobility is not the most important thing, but we can be attentive to the moment.

Christmas is such a moment. It is a small and humble moment, without fanfare, when the Word of God comes into the world. Here is what my Christmas looked like, and I took some photos to capture the moments.

Christmas Eve on Pender Island

Approaching the ferry terminal on Pender Island.

Someone was needed to say a Christmas eve mass with a small community on Pender Island. Since I like visiting the small communities on the islands, I was quick to accept this task. Once I arrived at the ferry terminal, I was picked up and taken to a chapel that had been donated by a family on the island. So technically, this is still a private chapel, but now it is well used by a growing community. While they are not big enough for their own pastor, Father Scott, who lives on Salt Spring Island, comes to visit them every other Sunday. At Christmas time, he could not fit a separate service on Pender Island in his schedule, and this is why he asked me to fill in for him. When mass was over, we gathered to take a picture of the community.

Christmas eve mass at St. Teresa’s Chapel.

Christmas Eve in the Victoria Friary

The ferry schedule rules the day on the islands, and it meant that the Christmas eve mass was very early on Pender Island. However, it happened to work out in such a way that I was still able to make it back to Victoria later in the evening. Father Vince was presiding during the Christmas vigil mass, and the chapel was full of people who had come to celebrate Christ’s birthday with the friars.

Fr. Vince, preaching the Christmas eve homily.

Christmas Day in Duncan

After celebrating the Christmas morning mass in Victoria, I drove home to Duncan. We are a small community in Duncan, just myself and Father Michael and Brother Jean-Louis, but we are lucky to have the Poor Clare monastery across the street. And just as last year, we were invited by them for a Christmas dinner, and I did not want to miss it. The food was wonderful, and the fellowship around the table was even better. Jean-Louis had made the dessert, which was a Yule log prepared according to a family tradition. Here is a picture of most of us, except for Sister Doreen who was talking to an old friend on the phone, and myself, as I was behind the camera.

The Poor Clare sisters and Franciscan friars in Duncan.

Merry Christmas!

And lastly, here is the “Bûche de Noël,” prepared and proudly presented by Brother Jean-Louis.

Bûche de Noël, by Jean-Louis.