Friday, July 20, 2012


Several weeks ago I was invited, for the first time, to give a graduation address.

I have always had a special place in my heart for the Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts community. Over the past 6 years they have been an amazing partner with Development and Peace - fundraising, carrying out our annual education campaign, and much more.

Good times with the Cardinal Carter Community

It was an honour to receive the invitation to keynote their 2012 graduation ceremony. A brief excerpt: 

Do you know what my favourite quotation is? My wife spent 50 hours cross-stitching it into a gift for me, "The World Will Be Saved By Beauty." This was the assertion of the great Russian novelist Dostoyevsky.  I believe him.  Share the beauty you have to offer with, literally, everyone. 
Never before in history has it been so easy to share. (at this point I produced my blackberry, snapped this photo and posted it to facebook) And yet, at the same time, it has never been so difficult to share - to reveal to others our search for who we are, why we are here, and what we owe as brothers and sisters to one another. To truly share in this way, in a world that increasingly is closing itself off in fear requires strength of heart, as the Psalms say.

One person who does exemplify this call to share in a meaningful way is Marilyn Grace. She is the teacher/chaplain at Cardinal Carter who invited me to speak. This was her last graduation ceremony as she retired at the end of the year - Thank-you Marilyn for all the young people whose lives you have touched.

Speaking of graduation... of July 1st, I began a one year leave of absence from my position as the Central Ontario Animator. For the next 12 months I will be serving Development and Peace as the Deputy Director of In-Canada programs on a maternity leave contract.  My new position is responsible for the entire network of animators across Canada - a team of 14. Therefore, you will notice that the tag-line on the Mustard Seed Muse has accordingly changed - so too will the content of my posts. Reflections and Reports will take on a National rather than regional flavor.

This message will be sent out across list-serves operated by members in my three dioceses: Toronto, Kingston, and Peterborough.  To all of you reading this who have been part of my journey as animator these past six years, thank-you. Working with you in the cause of the Gospel call to Solidarity has given me a solid foundation for the year ahead. My very first trip into the field as the animator remains vivid for me. It was the October 2006 education campaign workshop at St. Joan of Arc Parish in Toronto. I had yet to officially begin my responsibilities as animator. We began the training in prayer. I knew I was home. The chance to freely express my Faith and its meaning in my search for a better way of living with one another and with all creation is a blessing. Not everyone gets to both find and live their vocation in life.

Some shots from the field - 2006-2012

Please pray for me as I make this short sojourn to a place where my view will widen from Central Ontario to all of Canada. I look forward to continuing to share with you all on the road ahead as it stretches out for me in both directions - west to the Pacific and east to the Atlantic - from sea to shining sea.