One of my sisters had wanted nothing to do with either me, or our other sister since 1997. It’s obviously complicated. For many years I prayed for her, and that we could heal the pain on both sides. Starting in November 2021 my desire for reconciliation was answered. She was admitted to hospital following a heart attack, and I reached out. .I  idn’t know if my offer of support would be welcome, and fortunately it was. I attribute this partly due to my prayers over the years that we be reconciled before either of us leave this earth.  Her medical treatment was successful and we are thankful she is doing well.

There is a second story of reconciliation which happened a few weeks shortly after lent started this year. A parishioner had insulted me four years ago, and I wasn’t sure how to respond. It felt weird and unchristian to see him at mass and not work it through, and yet I was afraid of his anger if I approached. But in prayer the alienation kept coming up, and I wanted to heal the rift, and make peace. In prayer I heard the Lord ask me to take a risk and  reach out. So after mass I followed him out and greeted him. He immediately acknowledged me saying: “a few years ago I didn’t treat you very well, do you remember, I apologize.” Being surprised at the alacrity of his response, I hugged him right there in the narthex.

Thinking about these two incidents I am grateful that prayers were answered. As far as I know there isn’t anyone else that I am alienated from. I hope nobody is still angry at me, and pray that if I need to make amends, I will gladly do so. What these two examples have taught me, is how responding to grace can make us free. Don’t be afraid to bother God with prayers of petition..


John Montague earned his Master of Divinity from Regis College, University of Toronto. He is an active member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. He has a Master of Social Work, and, until his retirement, provided counselling to individuals, couples, and families. For seventeen years he organized a Day of Reflection for Catholic parents of lesbian daughters, gay sons, and transgendered children.

  • Peggy
    Posted at 01:30h, 20 June Reply

    A beautiful story of Reconciliation which will help many others who may be facing similar situations.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 11:16h, 20 June Reply

    Thank you John!

  • Suzanne renaud
    Posted at 12:21h, 20 June Reply

    This just what I needed to hear today. Thank you.

  • Elizabeth Bryant
    Posted at 12:32h, 20 June Reply

    Such a truthful and very “exposed” account. Thank you for your honesty. I’ve experienced many times over my life, out of order behaviours and commentary from family and fellow parishioners. As a First Nations Catholic parishioner, I guess I am “out there” too and with the unease and curiosity of others, there is a danger for upsets from time to time. Hmmm. It’s a challenge at times, but I am confident of the Lord. He takes care of all things and I trust him implicitly. May God bless you abundantly and may the Holy Spirit grant us the grace of patience, gentleness, and kindness. Take care.

  • Grace C.
    Posted at 14:29h, 20 June Reply

    Two very beautiful stories John which will indeed resonate with all of us who have undergone alienation and hopefully reconciliation. Thank you!

  • Friederika Priemer
    Posted at 15:31h, 21 June Reply

    Dear Father Montague, Thank you so much for the two encouraging stories.
    Referring to your very last sentence, I remember what the Curé of Ars once said: “God loves to be bothered!”

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