199 years ago, in the town of Annonay, France, ten Diocesan Priests came together to begin a new Religious Community. These ten Priests had a desire to further the education of young people, and they realized that they could more effectively accomplish that work if they lived in community. This new community of Priests chose St. Basil the Great as their patron. St. Basil, the 4th Century Bishop of Caesarea in modern day Turkey, was known for his own monastic rule, his devotion to social justice issues, and for promoting the study of Greek Literature as a path to growth in the Christian life. These aspects of St. Basil’s life spoke to the founders of this new Religious Community.
From these humble beginnings, the community of the Basilian Fathers grew to serve the Church. They came to Canada in 1852, and established St. Michael’s College School. The Basilian presence expanded to Windsor in 1870, and to the United States in 1899. They established Missions in Mexico in 1961, and in Colombia in 1987. The Basilian Priests have served as teachers in classrooms, as chaplains at universities, as Pastors in Parishes, and in a variety of other roles too numerous to name.
This weekend, the Basilian community begins its bicentennial celebration with a special Mass at Assumption Church, where the Basilians have served for the past 151 years. We are planning several events to mark the celebration of our bicentennial year, and we hope to be able to celebrate this joyous occasion in each of our parish communities throughout the course of the year. Please keep an eye on the bulletin for updates, and for more information about our bicentennial year.
This weekend, the Church also celebrates the Solemnity of Christ the King. As we reflect on the kingship of Christ, we recall that he is a different kind of king, whose kingdom is not of this world. The exchange between Jesus and Pilate that we hear in today’s Gospel helps us to reframe our thinking and reminds us just how countercultural the kingship of Christ is. Jesus shows us that true authority comes through service when he washes the feet of his disciples. He suffered on the cross and rose from the dead to free us from our sins. He feeds us with his body and blood in the Eucharist. He deeply cares for his people, and he asks us to do the same, by becoming servants after his example. Throughout this week, I invite you to reflect on the ways in which God is calling you to serve his people. I also ask you to pray for the Basilian Congregation as we begin our Bicentennial year: that God may continue to inspire us to serve others through our ministry as Priests.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Steven Huber, CSB