Catholic vs. Catholic - 2018-08-27 - James Marchant

Author Recorded Monday August 27th, 2018

There are 44 episodes in the Versus:Catholic series.

Recorded September 13th, 2017

Catholic vs. Catholic - 2017-09-13 - Thomas

James Marchant is a man of faith and conviction. He puts his gifts and charisms at the service of the community, particularly in the welcoming and the integrating of Syrian and Iraqi refugee families and promoting ecumenism. James is able to rally his community around important causes, he is a volunteer who is always ready to say yes to encourage meeting, reconciliation, and fraternity.


Catholic vs. Catholic - 2018-08-27 - James Marchant

Author Recorded July 26th, 2017

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hi this is James merchant and you're listening to Catholic versus Catholic just tell the listeners if you would please a little bit about yourself who you are what you believe and how he came to believe it well James Marchant been a Montreal boy grew up in Benny farms and West Island NDG Westmount and was part of the family my mother in particular Anglican and had trouble in school and from there I was forced to find myself a job and I got working and got my become the start of my become at night finished at during the day got my MBA at night at Concordia and got into the business world got married to Maddy Mountain Jean de Rome and for practical reasons no other other reason but practical reasons I decided to convert to Catholicism so that if we had a family we could all grow in the same religion so that turned out to be quite providential as you'll hear my story I got to work work my way up through the ranks started from the bottom of the totem pole right up to becoming vice president human resources at can Ron then vice president and dust relations at Nortel and vice president human resources at half daughter and then see Mac and then went on to form my own business but this work got the best of me and eventually I burned out and it was a very very difficult time for me and my family as well and from there we I recovered slowly but surely started my own little business and started taking on contracts with major corporations which was very very successful for me and at the same time started to accept invitations to participate in a local professional business person prayer group here Creole and started on my road of faith my road to real life slowly but surely which took me to make the confession of my life at st. Benoit jhalak when I was oh my god 62 years of age and that was a huge moment for me in my life where I learned just how much God loved me how much God wanted me and as as part of his story and the the priest that handled the confession was curiously had in his cassock a an article the Pope Benedict had written or that had written for him where Anglican priests and bishops were being accepted into the into into Catholicism and he was very keen on the whole like a medical movement from there I went in my own community cutting a long story short got very involved in the ecumenical movement and bringing all of the churches together for the Good Friday walk that mash the pub dome the ecumenical celebration at st. Lambert during a said about our fate and I also got very involved in my parish and have really now at this particular point in time totally dedicated my life to God's will trying to understand what God wants out of me and how I can help and I would say the thing that's really important to me now is that as John John the Baptist says I have to diminish so that Jesus can grow in my life and the paradox is that the more and more and more that you that I give up myself and center myself around God's will and God's will for me in my life and D Center myself for my own personal needs and my own personal wishes and from taking things personally I have found a certain peace of heart peace of mind that I never before thought possible can you talk about your early childhood experiences with religion and maybe a little bit of biographical information early childhood memories and family and connections and religion so my father Wilfred was a Second World War veteran and he met his love of the love of his life my mother Patricia in England my father got moved back to Montreal because he he had an accident during the war and my mother had to come by herself to Montreal by a boat and train and she arrived in 1945 pregnant for me my parents started from nothing and worked their way gradually up to being able to take care of all of us but it was never easy my mother is a firm believer and always was involved in the Anglican Church wherever we happen to be and got me enrolled in the choir the one that I that impacted my life the most was the say Messiah's Boys Choir in Saint in Westmount Quebec so much so that at a certain point in time in my life I even wanted to be an Anglican minister but slowly but surely as I started having trouble going through school and everything else I decided to concentrate on working and making my way through through life and found a significant other and went on with that I have two sisters who are ones living in Montreal the other ones living in Toronto they're believers as well and I had my brother Charles who died several years ago from cancer and I had another brother Peter who we never knew because he died from pneumonia God has always been part of my life but never to the extent that it is today it was he was always there and it was always something important to me but as I got caught up in proving myself in the business world let me just say that it became more and more difficult to understand and appreciate in particular the Beatitudes to decode the Beatitudes to understand that the attitudes when you're brought up in the business world today which is performance performance performance perception perception perception of yourself it's very hard to decode what blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven means blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted what does it mean so on so forth and as I went down my my road of faith my road to the newfound life I started to realize that I had to really detach myself from the material things in life detached myself from the business of performance and performance and material and achieving and so that you you you could be somebody important it got the best of me and unfortunately I had to go through that that phase where I hit rock bottom in terms of my health and moral stability but that was the beginning of something very special I didn't hear you mentioned too much about your father's faith life can you just touch briefly on your father and what he believed and maybe the ups and downs of his faith life if you had one my father was somebody who came up through the school of hard knocks I had a very tough life and learned how to survive and when he saw me taking this turn in my life that I took in the last few years before he passed away I think it troubled him quite a bit but ironically God works in mysterious ways because I was with him to the end and we'd lived something very very special together just before he passed away so I'd like to believe that God was there for him too but I I can't say that that I ever connected with him on that on that level can you talk a little bit about your prayer life and how it nourishes and nurtures that flame of faith because I think your faith is on fire now it's not just a number or a spark it's a full flame right so what is the relationship between maintaining the flame of faith and building your faith and the prayer and sacraments that you engage in as a Catholic so that's an excellent question David just super every morning very early in the morning I get up and have a routine that I go through and it starts with a little moment of silence in my little sanctuary here at home where I have always have a candle burning and I have Virgin Mary's statue with me and also the cross of Jesus Christ and then I go through preparing the mass for today so I go through the the meditations in my mid week at English and French parallel AV from France and Lillian and I go through all of this and I really take my time to understand it I've said I've actually added something else to this where when I get to the psalm I I found some some books on the Psalms that helped me integrate the Psalms with the readings for today the the gospel for today and it really helps me tremendously and then there's always three or four meditation settings that I can read and meditate on then I get on with my day I may do the Rosary I always go to Mass once a day somewhere in my community and in the evening before going to bed I do the closing prayers plus I I don't know how to say this in English but I do the divinity called divine mercy thing and what is fascinating about this what's been going on with me internally over the last several years is that now I've got I've become almost like depended on this I can't get enough of it my kids and even my wife look at me and they just they joke about me you should have been a priest dad you know I wouldn't treat where I'm at right now with anybody it's just my own little voyage and it's really very found and the more and more and more I get into it the less and less importance I have as a person less and less things I take personally and somebody like myself was very high-profile in the community there's always people that just don't appreciate me or don't like the way I think and stuff like that and I and I a few years ago it had the bad habit of taking these things personally now it's you know I just quietly get into prayer and I just say okay fine this I'm leaving this one with you God and Jesus Christ just let me write it out I want to talk about something it's a little bit delicate a lot of people are angry with this whole sex scandal thing in the church how do you defend the holiness of Holy Mother Church because I believe firmly that the church is one holy and Catholic and apostolic so how do you defend the holiness of the Holy Roman Catholic Church today well that is an excellent question and I just read a meditation by Pope Francis and he cited st. Paul in Ephesians I think it was Ephesians II where I say Paul said the church is sanctified by Jesus Christ and is therefore holy because priests are sinners because bishops are sinners because me the Pope is a sinner doesn't change the fact that the church is still holy and I get that I get that okay no or that I have my own views as to why we're in this mess but I strongly believe that the sanctity of the church is something that is just not negotiable can you share your views on sexual sin and chastity and we are called we're all called to holiness we're all called to chastity even married people are called to chastity can you give your perspective on that and its relationship with the crisis in Church well I am a big believer that chastity is important for priests for other religious people like nuns and monks and stuff like that and I firmly believe that a huge majority of them have been very faithful to their their vows and what this is just my hypothesis now because I don't know if there's any there's been any research here at all but when I look back in the history of the United States when I look back into the problems in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania Ireland Chile all around my sense is that a number of people get involved in religious vocations as a profession not as a calling and as a result they get easily knocked off track and I believe that one of my colleagues is to support and serve people in religious vocations to the best of my ability to make sure that that they know they can count on me to help them out because I believe they're absolutely critical to the life and vibrance of the church going forward absolutely critical and that this catastrophe that we're living through right now will eventually work itself out there's hope and maybe a lot of good will come out of it right now it's it's devastating to see how this thing is turning around on us but I firmly believe that over time we may have to hit rock bottom before we start climbing up again but I think things are going to work themselves out on a long-term basis hmm I make a very strong distinction between someone who has a sickness like alcoholism or pedophilia or whatever the case may be but who is striving to fight against it and someone who is unrepentant like an unrepentant homosexual for example it's happens to be a priest or a bishop these people know what Christ teaches and still they rebel so they I think what Christ would have called wolves in sheep's clothing are there many of these wolves in sheep's clothing in the hierarchy in the church or even in the pews of the church do you think that there are many is it a large percentage or is it a very very small percentage of people that know what the Church teaches but they prefer their sin and so they're in a constant state of rebellion against their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ what is the proportion roughly would you say I haven't got a clue I don't know any I I've never I've never experienced this the world that I'm dealing in this is just total love dedication commitment people it's I've been with people I've been with priests where they're in situations really good totally dedicated priests or in tears because as children are going through the Kaddish each Jesus the the the parents don't want to leave the kids with me with the priest for fear that somehow the kid is going to be I mean I don't even want to go any further in this I'm sure you can see where I'm going and it's it's it's incredible what's going on I just I just have not had that experience I don't when I when I witness all of the stuff that's going on outside of my world it's almost unbelievable because all of the priests the religious people that I'm dealing with and I'm dealing with them a lot now more and more and more as I go on and with down this road that I'm on and they're just nothing but totally dedicated wonderful people that I don't know how I could live without you've been lucky because I've met some Catholic priests that were not Catholic at all they don't believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist and this sort of thing well I don't know if I've been lucky David I don't I don't I don't agree with that agree with that don't agree with that but I've been lucky I would say you've been unlucky there's not much lady that knows as many priests and as many religious people as James Martin in this community I can tell you that right now I defy anybody to say they know more than I do on the level that I know them I mean we're talking personal friends big brothers sisters people that turn to for help and everything else these are dedicated fantastic wonderful people so I mean if you've had an experience otherwise well to me that's the exception but lately my life has called me into some of these real gut-wrenching issues parents learning that their child is homosexual and for some reason I'm being asked what do you think James how do we should it should be analyst and my advice is always understanding God is love God is love you got a you got a seek to understand before trying to be understood if that's your son your daughter a cousin a nephew somebody don't try to change them just love them appreciate them be there for them let it work itself out God is there with us on this who are we to judge now on a cheerier note you mentioned that you have a little home shrine and you have a few objects of devotion can you just talk about some of your favorite Saints some of your favorite devotions and how that fits into your prayer life I have a very strong devotion for the Virgin Mother and I strongly believe that she was there with me for my first big confession and the cheese she helped me through it so it felt like she was there with me and I I'm with her every single day almost every minute of my life I get into situations now where I want confronted or I'm in difficult conflictual situations that I end up in and I tend to pause walk away and start quietly inside doing the rosary and just saying Jane is cool it and I can hear telling me like just back off buddy the other one is st. Paul Marie and I my wife and I did two pilgrimages one to the Holy Land and Jordan with Robert LaBelle who's a priest composer singer that we have here in and then the year after that rubella been invited us to join him on another pilgrimage through Greece and into Turkey following the steps of st. Paul and that is where I lived through something that was absolutely incredible just imagine this guy you know who got stopped on the road to Damascus and it took him three years to figure out what the heck happened to him and he's he's the top theologian in the world at the time but on the wrong side of the street and then he gets the message and he starts out all by himself and he is able to increase the circle increase the circle increase the circle gets grease gets Turkey and eventually the word is spread throughout the world now when you go through the letters in the Bible in the New Testament and then you're actually in the places where he did this stuff it becomes like wow this is absolutely incredible the guy didn't have the technology that we have today now there's somebody else that I think needs mentioned that's alive and well today and is the hope of our church in terms of evangelization and that is Robert Barron he's had a huge impact on my life Bishop Robert Barron from Los Angeles California and I've been on to him for several years now and nobody knows about me and Robert Barron Robert Barron doesn't know but if my friends don't know about it because I live in a French community but it's absolutely incredible what this man is able to do and I really believe he is the future of Catholicism in the world guys like him he's using all of the technology that we have to spread the word in a very powerful meaningful way that people can tune into today that young people can connect with and old guys like me can can get with - I mean that the guy is like I can't get enough of him he's fantastic I've got his books I've got his videos I got everything it's tremendous I want you to talk from your perspective if you would just a little bit about Christian unity so within the Christian communities what is it going to take to bring people in back into the art of the Catholic Church what have you seen that gives you hope that maybe there's a way in I know you talked about the Anglicans coming in some of the Anglicans had a way in and there are always dialogues and there's a cumin ism and all this sort of thing I know you're involved in that and you're excited about that so what have you seen that sparks your interest or that makes you excited that there's a lot of hope for Christian unity in general moving forward from today so Christian unity is critically important the goal for me is not to find ways to get people back into the Catholic Church because I just don't think that I'm up to that cause but I can tell you what what I've learned the hard way is that people will be curious as to why you're you've done certain things so I'm going to talk about some things we're doing in our community that perhaps create a certain awareness that there may be something here to look at so we have a very in st. Lambert we have a very strong ecumenical organization all of the Christian churches participating and we have a number of activities that we do together most importantly as we get together monthly and we just exchange with each other as to how we can help each other there's seven different Christian churches in our community one of the major events we have what we call the Good Friday walk on fund Good Friday when I got involved it's a tradition that goes on every year when I got involved it wasn't doing well there was about 20-some odd people on the walk within three years it was over 200 and some other people and the newspapers started getting interested oh what's going on here we started getting interviews and just this last year we changed the format for doing it and the local newspaper got involved and the next thing we know people were coming out from everywhere to go on this walk with us through the town of st. Lambert and it was really quite something and I was going around asking people I hadn't seen before why are you here sir well I think this is a good thing mr. Marchan this is good we should carry on what it is let's do this more of this I I really like the way this is coming together we have the ecumenical celebration which we just had on Sunday during Saint Lambert days on Sundays it was at 10:30 Sunday morning at st. Barnabas Anglican Church and all of the different churches were involved and there were parishioners from all the different churches of King and it was a huge success and a lot of people there and after we had a little coffee and they get together and the general sense was we gotta find a way to do more of this you know we're all in the same boat together in 2014 Barrie Mack who was and still is the pastor at st. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in st. Lambert was on to this business about we got to start thinking about sponsoring Syrian or Iraqi family into st. Lambert before anybody started talking about it and we all said I'll come on Barry forget it it's not going to work we got enough problems to save our churches and our parishes you know we don't have time to get involved in something like this then at the end of 2014 all of these horrible stories and and and television reports of people being martyred and children being oh my god it's just terrible what was going on in Syria right and in January of 2015 Barry comes back hisses now you guys starting to get the message here we can't sit back and do nothing we got to do something here so I opened my mouth a little too fast and I said well Barry to do that we've got to have a coordinator we gotta have somebody to take care of this thing he said yeah and you're at James to do it so we started getting organized we got the infrastructure in place we got off a steering committee going we got all our churches involved every Church and Community Schools willing to contribute we set the whole thing up in a number of up to three months it was incredible the momentum we were Dean before anything with anybody was even talking about it and then I said well okay we got the money we got the infrastructure we got the services we're ready to go we've got a plan couldn't get a family oh how come can't get a family because the families that are already here tend to be sponsoring the ones that are not here yet and we had a principal we wanted to help families that didn't have any ties into Canada whatsoever so I got in touch with the minister of immigration diversity and inclusion in Quebec and with the office and I said I got a problem and they said oh yeah what's your problem I said I got everything going here but I don't have a family they said tell me what we're gonna help you over here will be we're going to get back to you that afternoon they put me in touch with the Jesuits in Montreal and they got in touch with me right away and they said mr. Marchan we think you're the answer to our prayers he says I've been looking for a parish or churches somewhere that want to join us to get families here so within a few weeks we had our family we had them on the list we had it approved they are on their way here and in November of 2015 little island is found on a beach and there's a note pouring of support and people wanting to support and be part of this thing but there was no organizations to give to and you were part of that as well David when you helped us set up the website but we started getting because we were the only organization that had been set up for this purpose at the time not the only one but the only new one and because there was a very powerful article written in look in the leprous newspaper by now the editor now of la crise mr. Kasdan allen the foundations and different groups started pouring money into our little group that came in the refuge so we had to go for a second family and then a third family and people were wanting to get involved with us in this process there were so many people wanted to be part of this that I had to learn how to say no well I'm sorry all our needs are covered right now but this is just one way one little way that we're showing the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives the power of being part of the solution through Jesus Christ and I have no other better way of convincing people that there might be something in this for them than by just doing it making it happen and not too much blah blah blah blah and that my neighbors and people all around the Canidae here are saying wow James this is incredible what's going on little things like for example the second family that got here was a monopod on top and in that single parent family was a little boy who was 12 years old at the time that he got here in May of 2016 and I got him playing hockey last year Saint Lambert Red Wings hockey team the whole community just rallied around him and the South Shore newspaper got a hold of it and this thing went viral people were saying look at this kid from a left Syria with dreams to be in the National Hockey League people were coming from everywhere we're saying wow James this is incredible what you're doing here and it's a way of talking to people a way of getting people involved right I'm seeing in our parish an uptick in the numbers of people that are coming to church Sunday Mass and stuff like that I don't know if there's any connect whatsoever but I certainly feel like we're making progress thank you very much I appreciate you taking the time because you know I know you're busy so at the end of my interviews I always ask my guests to leave a little message of hope for the listener just something nice what could you say to anyone that might be out there listening now god is love that's all he is just love and none of us are perfect but we we get to live with God and be with God by being with other people so if you're out there and you're by yourself and you're feeling alone or excluded go to your local church whatever your faith is get involved get involved in a little group a little community thing a prayer group don't worry about whether or not you believe enough all of us are invited to participate regardless of whether or not we are buying in to this message give it a shot give it a try and you won't be disappointed all you got to do is all you got to do you got to do

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