Fr. Robbie McDougall says the paschal mystery is the story of God's love for us.


Fr. Robbie McDougall says the paschal mystery is the story of God's love for us.

April 6, 2015

The paschal mystery, for Father Robbie McDougall, is a love story.

"It's a gift from God to us in regards to the ups and downs of everyday life. It is the personal presence of Christ who is with us always in our suffering and our joys.

"This is the incarnated attitude that God is with us always in the personal level for personal growth."

A pianist, composer and singer, McDougall leads retreats, workshops and parish missions, gives concerts and produces sacred music. The Winnipeg-based priest led a Holy Week retreat at Providence Renewal Centre.

As a composer, he has written a Mass – Celebration of Hope and Joy – that links to Easter instrumentally and also has created many instrumental compositions that speak of joy, hope, faith, courage and strength.

People are seeking spiritual nourishment, McDougall said, "ways to learn how to grow in their relationship with God and society."

Holy Week, he said, is a prime time to create or deepen this relationship and realize the depth of Christ's love for us.

McDougall said the paschal mystery is central to the Christian faith because its main subject is the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. It's the work of the Father who sends the Son to accomplish salvation on earth.

While the mystery is celebrated on Easter it is also celebrated at every Mass, especially on Sunday, he said.

"For us, there are divine mysteries that cannot be grasped by mere human reasoning. These divine mysteries need to be revealed by God through grace.

"Mystery is not an idea to be explained, not a problem to be solved, not an idea to be unlocked, not a novel. It is more than that for us. It is the divine truth and life which God, through the Church, sacraments and faith, ignites."

The paschal mystery represents Christ's victory over death, he said. "The cross is the victory. He will die for us and rise for us and we are invited to know that, that he is present to us in all ways, that he is with us in our own dying and rising in everyday life.

"Jesus stretches out his arms and embraces the whole world with his love. 'This is how much I love you. I will die for you.'"


Holy Week is the time when Christians pay particular attention to the mystery, we "stand back in silence to what Jesus has done for us," McDougall said.

Prior to being ordained, McDougall studied theology at Laval University and obtained a certificate in clinical pastoral education from the University of Winnipeg. In 1989, with the approval of the archbishop of St. Boniface, he started to travel, give concerts and begin his sacred music career with Adoremus Ministries.

For him, Christ "gives me enthusiasm to bring a good message, put something good in the world. We need this."

Easter, concluded the musician-priest, is a gift from God to us, proof to us that Jesus would die for us and rise for us.

"It's the reason I continue living out of a suitcase – so the people of God will be attracted more and more to the message of Christ."