On the 7th day of June in the year 1964, when His Eminence James Cardinal McGuigan blessed the Augustinian Shrine of Our Lady of Grace, King City, Ontario, he expressed in an almost prophetic way his own personal dream. At that time the Cardinal said it was his hope that this shrine at the Marylake Center would become not only an important place of pilgrimage in honor of our Blessed Mother Mary in this area, but that one day it would officially become the center of Marian devotion for all Ontario. For the past fifty years, the Augustinians have loyally served tens of thousands of pilgrims from all parts of the world who came and continue to come to Marylake seeking peace, Reconciliation, and renewed hope in a special way through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God. In the past several months, Cardinal McGuigan’s dream for Marylake moved an important step closer to its full realization.
In October 2012, the present Archbishop of Toronto, Thomas Cardinal Collins, declared Marylake as one of four official archdiocesan sites of sacred pilgrimage for the Year of Faith. And on Sunday, February 3rd, 2013, in a Solemn High Mass, the Very Reverend Bernard Scianna, O.S.A., Ph.D., Prior Provincial of the Canadian and Midwest Augustinians, officially blessed and designated the main entrance to the shrine as a holy door open to all who come to Marylake seeking the special graces of this Year of Faith.
Father Scianna was assisted at the Mass by Father Eugene Tramble, O.S.A., Prior of the Marylake Augustinian community, other Augustinians, and visiting clergy. In his Homily, Fr. Scianna encouraged all present to use this sacred time as a grace-filled opportunity to “rediscover, profess, deepen, [and] proclaim our Faith with renewed enthusiasm… The door of faith is always open to us, ushering us into the life of communion with God.” Then, using a metaphor familiar to all who follow St. Augustine in a special way, Fr. Scianna reminded us that “to enter through the door [of faith] is to set out on a journey that lasts through life!”
Although it was a cold winter Sunday morning, in a worship space filled almost to capacity, the assembled congregation responded joyously and enthusiastically throughout the entire Mass in both song and the spoken word. Students from Villanova College assisted as altar servers in the sanctuary; other students from the school assisted in music ministry as cantors and instrumentalists in the brass ensemble. Villanova students also served as ushers and greeters for the occasion. Music ministry was under the direction of Brother Paul Koscielniak, O.S.A.