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Ed. This article first appeared in The Hebrew Catholic #82, Fall 2005 – Winter 2006. All rights reserved.

Havurot of Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
Fr. Donald Arsenault

We, the French and English havurot were very pleased with the visit of David Moss and his wife Kathleen. Our private meeting on Saturday, September 24, and the public conference on Sunday were more successful than we had anticipated.

Arriving on Friday evening, David, Kathleen and I spent a short time touring the downtown area. They were surprised at the hustle and bustle of our small city.

After a private Mass in my home chapel on Saturday morning, I took the couple to Beaumont a former Micmac Indian/Acadian village to visit a chapel they built in 1842. Today, the chapel is an historical site that is used once a year to celebrate the feast of St. Anne. Saturday afternoon and evening were spent at the lovely victorian home of one of the twenty-two Havurah members in Salisbury, a country village some 13 miles from Moncton. Here we got to meet and come to know David and Kathleen on a more personal level. The greater part of the five hours was spent asking questions and listening to David’s wealth of knowledge. His humility made everyone comfortable and at ease, much was discussed, it was very fruitful.

As David and Kathleen were sharing of their time with us, we shared with them a pot luck dinner, a birthday cake for Kathleen and a special gift presented to them on behalf of the Moncton Havorot groups. Of the time that they spent with us, it will be this intimate evening that we will cherish the most.

Sunday afternoon, the day of the public conference, we were all greatly surprised and pleased at the wonderful turnout, as some 150 people came to listen to David’s conversion testimony and thoughts on the Jews and the Church. Everyone in attendance felt extremely honoured and grateful that David had made his first Canadian teaching here in Moncton, N.B., Canada. The two hour conference was recorded on DVD. The feedback afterwards was very positive and encouraging.

On the last day of the visit, Monday, I prepared for them a hermit’s soup and an Acadian dish called “poutines râpées”. Kathleen enjoyed it, David left hungry …! After lunch, we visited Moncton’s three most renown tourist sites: the Rocks, Magnetic Hill and the Tidal Bore.

On Tuesday, after Mass and breakfast, David enjoyed going through my small library of books on Judaism. Before noon they were on the plane back to the USA with, I hope, the awareness that they had just made many new friends. Now, as I am writing this one week later, and am reflecting on the events of the visit, I feel that we were truly blessed by the presence of this lovely couple.

Some comments sent from havurah members.

The presentation given at the Assumption Cathedral by Mr. David Moss, a man of Jewish heritage, highlighted the lifelong emotional and spiritual upheaval in his conversion to Roman Catholicism. — Most interesting and informative.

Sincerely, Janet A. and Langis Robichaud, Moncton

My time was not wasted on Sunday afternoon listening to David Moss’ presentation from 2 to 4:30 p.m. that included a Q and A period. How many times, in the past, have I heard speakers of all kinds and felt that my time had been wasted. I wish David all the best in the pursuit of his God given ministry.

Charles Gillespie, Moncton

Having heard David Moss at the Jews in the Church Conference in Washington DC and again in Moncton, NB, my birthplace and home, I can say that he is a true Israelite Catholic (or is it a Catholic Israelite?) who challenges us to sincerely love our elder brothers and sisters in the faith of Abraham and to pray for them. I pray that they may know that their sufferings past and present have an immense meaning when united to Jesus their great rabbi and teacher. If only they would forgive us our transgressions and find true peace. There is room for us all at the Inn in the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI loves Jews and Gentiles so very much.

On a final note: I will always cherish David and Kathleen presence with Fr Donald at the NDSC Mother House where they shared their knowledge over a meal lasting well into the evening. And generously they gave of themselves on that Sunday Sept 25th. It was indeed a God -given day. They will always be welcome in Moncton.

Sr. Cécile F. LeBlanc, NDSC