Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 27, 2003
Ephphatha House talks union with French group
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
A Catholic community dedicated to living the life of the early Christians might be established in the Edmonton Archdiocese, says Father Ray Guimond, spiritual director of Ephphatha House north of Stony Plain.
Based upon Jesus' eight-point summation on how to live a fulfilled life, the Community of the Beatitudes has been invited to view the area and meet the residents of the Community of the Presentation at Ephphatha House to determine if uniting the two groups is viable.
Guimond says it would be a good fit.
"Really, there would not be too many adjustments to the existing community at Ephphatha," he said. "We have the same kind of spirituality. We have perpetual adoration and they have that as well. The advantage for us is that they are already an established community of about eight or nine members - same as us."
The Community of the Beatitudes brings together the faithful from all walks of life - laity, married or otherwise, clerics, consecrated brothers and sisters - whose spiritual desire is to live a communal Christian life in terms of sharing their goods in a voluntary spirit of poverty.
There is an indoctrination process whereby it takes a person more than three years to become a committed member.
An intense sacramental and liturgical life in the community is expected, manifesting a love for the Catholic Church and its representatives, while being actively engaged in the service of the poor and the proclamation of the Gospel.
Members of the community typically pray about four hours a day, including one hour of Eucharistic Adoration.
Originally founded in France in 1973, the Community of the Beatitudes was eventually established in the Archdiocese of Albi, France, in 1985.
There are currently some 1,500 members worldwide in 86 "houses" - the nearest is in Denver, Colo.
Beatitude members from France visited Edmonton this summer; a visit that Guimond said went very well. Guimond and two others then went to Denver to catch a glimpse of their group.
An invitation to Edmonton was extended and accepted, and in early November, a Beatitude priest and a lay person will visit the archdiocese.
"There is no commitment whatsoever, yet," Guimond said. "They will meet the people at Ephphatha and some of the people who support Ephphatha. There are also people connected to Radway Bible School who are interested. If they give a good report - I feel it is a possibility - then they would ask the moderator to send a team to start the community at Ephphatha."
In Denver, Archbishop Charles Chaput met the community's general moderator in Rome for Pentecost 1998 during a gathering of new communities called by Pope John Paul, and asked the community to settle in Denver.
"The same thing could happen here," Guimond said. "I think if the Lord wants it, it would be wonderful. I see it as a real asset for the archdiocese. Members could go out to schools, give missions in parishes, or do retreats right at Ephphatha.
"Right now, we are so few so it is a lot of work just to survive. But there would be a period of evolution."
The Denver group will visit the Edmonton area for four days. They will speak Nov. 1 at Ephphatha House and again Nov. 3 at St. John the Evangelist Church in Edmonton after the 7 p.m. Mass.
"They are coming to Ephphatha to look at it only as a possibility," Guimond said. "It is a very demanding religious community. That's why we have to discern, to be sure that is what we want. So far, the group that is living at Ephphatha is welcoming them, as is the board of directors.
"It's like if you are trying to build a car by yourself and then you find there is a company who is very skilled and willing to take over the project," he said.