More than a Feast


By Joseph Sinasac, Publishing Director

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated every year on Dec. 8, holds a special place in the hearts of those who work here at Novalis.

While we join the Catholic world in celebrating the belief that Mary, the Mother of God, was conceived without sin, we have our own particular reason for remembering this day.

It was on this feast in 1935, that Fr. André Guay, OMI, spoke to a crowd of lay Catholics in Ottawa and called for the creation of a new organization that would serve the Church by providing affordable and accessible resources to help Catholics in the pews to better understand their faith. In doing so, Fr. Guay’s goal was to prepare Catholics to take up their responsibility for the evangelizing mission of the Church and more fully participate in its worship and sacramental life. In the end, he reasoned, their faith would permeate all aspects of their daily lives and transform society.

An ambitious goal, with humble beginnings.

The first result was the creation of the Catholic Information Centre at the University of Ottawa, then an institution of higher learning operated by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Its first project was the creation of Prie avec l’Eglise and its English counterpart, Pray with the Church. These two booklets were the precursors to Living with Christ and Prions en Eglise, Canada’s most popular worship aids for living and praying the Eucharist.

Over the years, the centre gave birth to countless books and other media to help lay Catholics grow in their faith. In the late 1960s, the name of the centre was changed to Novalis, a Latin term meaning “freshly ploughed field ready for sowing,” entirely apropos to our mission.

As we now enter into our ninth decade, we still revere this feast and recall our own origins. And we pray to our Blessed Mother to continue to intercede on behalf of us all with God, our Father, to give us the strength and wisdom to carry on.

All Advent blessings to you and your families.

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