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News

Montreal, June 7, 2024- CEGEP Vanier was host to a community gathering organized by the junior youth in Saint-Laurent neighbourhood.

The gathering consisted of presentations made by members of the junior youth group, based on what they were learning in their studies together, as well as some music. Members of The group also presented its mission statement for those who were unfamiliar with what a junior youth group is or does.

Parents, family, and friends, as well as wider community members listened with admiration to the presentations and took part in singing and music. A variety of subjects such as Protection and preservation of nature, Secret of success in one’s life, Service to family and neighbourhood, Truthfulness of Speech and Generosity were but a few of those presentations made in both languages.

Many parents brought refreshments to cover all the desks and they made sure everyone received a portion! As refreshments being served, the young participants sat with parents and visitors in several workshop to hear their elders to share their thoughts with them in relation to the subjects were presented. The conversation was lively and more important of all they were very encouraging and supporting of the project.

This training project started some two years ago by few enthusiasts from other Montreal neighbourhoods and at the moment consists of a group of 12 junior youths who gather weekly in one of the class rooms at Vanier College, study and discuss a number of Virtues related principles and try to put them into practice through their behaviours in their daily lives.

The Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Programme is a global movement inspiring young people, parents, and community members to work together toward a better world. Over the past 10 years, the programme has grown all over Canada from being supported by a small group of youth to include over a few hundred young people. 

The programme is not religious in nature, and does not instruct participants in faith-based laws or teachings. It does use profound and universal moral standards to inspire them to take charge of their own development and contribute to the progress of their communities. The materials the programme uses are filled with moral concepts inspired by Bahá'í principles, such as seeking hope in times of despair and striving for excellence in all things. 

Montreal, May 28, 2024 - Friends from Saint-Laurent, Côte Saint-Luc, NDG, Outremont, Mascouche and French Guyana neighbourhoods gathered to commemorate the ascension of God's universal Messenger at dawn of this memorable morning! The immortal soul of God's Manifestation, Bahá'u'lláh, took flight for the eternal Kingdom at dawn on May 28, 1892, eight hours after sunset.

Nine months before His ascension Bahá’u’lláh, as attested by Abdu'l-Bahá, had voiced His desire to depart from this world. From that time onward it became increasingly evident, from the tone of His remarks to those who attained His presence, that the close of His earthly life was approaching, though He refrained from mentioning it openly to anyone. On the night preceding May 8, 1892, He contracted a slight fever which, though it mounted the following day, soon after subsided. He continued to grant interviews to certain of the friends and pilgrims, but it soon became evident that He was not well. His fever returned in a more acute form than before, His general condition grew steadily worse, complications ensued which at last culminated in His ascension, at the hour of dawn, on May 29, 1892, eight hours after sunset, in the 75th year of His age. His spirit, at long last released from the toils of a life crowded with tribulations, had winged its flight to His "other dominions," dominions "whereon the eyes of the people of names have never fallen." 

Bahá’u’lláh was accordingly laid to rest in the northernmost room of the house which served as a dwelling-place for His son-in-law, the most northerly of the three houses lying to the west of, and adjacent to, the Mansion. His interment took place shortly after sunset, on the very day of His ascension. 

With the ascension of Bahá’u’lláh draws to a close a period which, in many ways, is unparalleled in the world's religious history. The first century of the Baha'i Era had by now run half its course. An epoch, unsurpassed in its sublimity, its fecundity and duration by any previous Dispensation, and characterized, except for a short interval of three years, by half a century of continuous and progressive Revelation, had terminated. The Message proclaimed by the Bab had yielded its golden fruit. The most momentous, though not the most spectacular phase of the Heroic Age had ended. The Sun of Truth, the world's greatest Luminary, had risen in the Siyah-Chal (subterranean black pit prison) of Tihran, had broken through the clouds which enveloped it in Baghdad, had suffered a momentary eclipse whilst mounting to its zenith in Adrianople and had set finally in Akka, never to reappear ere the lapse of a full millennium.

An ocular witness writes:

Outwardly He was a Prisoner, condemned and wronged, but in reality, He was the Sun of Glory, the Manifestation of grandeur and majesty, the King of the Kingdom of poise and dignity. Although He showed much compassion and loving-kindness, and approached anyone who came to His presence with tender care and humbleness, and often used to make humorous remarks to put them at ease, yet in spite of these, no one, whether faithful or disbelieving, learned or unlettered, wise or foolish, was able to utter ten words in His presence in the usual everyday manner. Indeed, many would find themselves to be tremulous with an impediment in their speech.​

Photo: Courtesy of BWC Archives - Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, Bahji, 'Akká, 1952

Réferences:

- God Passes By, Shoghi Effendi

- Haji Mirza Heydar Ali, quoted in Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh

Montreal, July 10, 2023 - The Báhá'is of our Montreal neighborhoods, as well as communities around the world, have commemorated the martyrdom of the Báb, executed in 1850.

In the year 1901, after the publication of Tolstoy's famous book called “War and Peace”, Prince Reza Arfa Al-Feld (Ambassador of the Iranian government in Istanbul and also official representative of Iran during the first conference of The Hague) wrote a letter to Tolstoy asking him to explain to him the tools for a lasting peace. Here is Tolstoy's response: “I am grateful for your kindness. ...That question was very surprising and didn't sound so serious about how you asked me for the tools for lasting peace. If this question were sincere, the Iranian government and nation would not have martyred and exiled two prophets of peace named Hazrat Báb [his holiness The Door] and Hazrat Bahá'u'lláh [his holiness The Glory of God] who both came from Iran. ...Make sure the key to peace is in the hands of the prisoner of Akka [a city of Israel], Hazrat is Bahá'u'lláh. …”

This social and religious reform movement gained momentum on July 10, 1850 in Tabriz, Persia (today's Iran). In presence of the civil and religious authorities and the consular body, a young man of 31 years, called “the Báb”, was publicly executed by a squadron of soldiers. His crime? To have preached in the name of God, everyone's freedom of conscience, equality of sexes, social justice, but above all, the imminent coming of a great world educator, the Promised or the Messiah announced by the sacred writings of all religions of the world. The role of the Báb, forerunner of Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892) and having prepared the people to recognize him, is very similar to that of Saint John the Baptist. Just as John the Baptist said of Christ: “He who comes after me is more powerful than I, and I am not worthy to wear his shoes.” the Báb wrote concerning Bahá’u’lláh:” Verily, I myself am but a ring placed on the finger of him whom God will make manifest. He spins it as he pleases”.

Shortly before the Báb's execution, the young and devout disciple Áqá Muhammad 'Ali had ardently begged his executioners to be martyred with him and placed on the pillar in such a way that his own body would protect that of the Báb. A little later, they eventually were suspended by means of ropes placed under the arms in such a way that the head of Muhammad 'Ali rested on the chest of his beloved Master. “Had you believed in Me, O wayward generation,” were the last words of the Báb to the gazing multitude as the regiment was preparing to fire the final volley, “every one of you would have followed the example of this youth, who stood in rank above most of you, and willingly would have sacrificed himself in My path. The day will come when you will have recognized Me; that day I shall have ceased to be with you.”

 

Photo: Shrine of the Báb and the Hanging Gardens of Mount Carmel, Haifa-Israel.

Source : Face Book page, Jacques Proulx.

Montreal, May 23 2024 – In neighbourhoods as well as throughout the world, the Bahá’ís and their friends celebrated this auspicious occasion, which is the declaration of the Báb, the Herald of the Bahá’í Dispensation, with joy and happiness!

In Saint-Laurent neighbourhood a celebration gathering took place via videoconference with participation of a great number of friends including friends from “Coeur de l’Est”, Anjou, Mount Royal, Côte Saint-Luc and several surrounding communities in Quebec. A befitting program portraying the event of that memorable night, 181 years ago, which took place in the upper chamber of a modest house in an obscure corner of the city of Shiraz in southern Iran, was presented!

Shoghi Effendi, the late Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, writes in a letter addressed to the Bahá’í Community of India that “The believers must hold gatherings for the Bahá'ís at exactly 2 hours and 11 minutes after sunset on May 22nd, 1944* as this is the exact time when The Báb declared His Mission to Mulla Hussayn. They should also arrange to hold public gatherings on May 23rd and enlist the support of prominent friends of the Faith as speakers, together with Bahá'í speakers, on that occasion. They should, as far as possible, hold festive gatherings at this time, give banquets at which friends of the Cause and believers are present, obtain as much space in the press of India as possible, and in general devise ways and means of making this a glorious and memorable celebration.”1

In the “Tablet of visitation” revealed by the author of the Bahá’í Faith and it is recited during such events, He affirms: “I testify, moreover, that with but a movement of Thy Pen Thine injunction “Be Thou” hath been enforced, and God’s hidden Secret hath been divulged, and all created things have been called into being, and all the Revelations have been sent down.”2

The event of that memorable night of May 23, was indeed a “trail-breakers of the New Day, … to so much intrigue, ignorance, depravity, cruelty, superstition and cowardice opposed a spirit exalted, unquenchable and awe-inspiring, a knowledge surprisingly profound, an eloquence sweeping in its force, a piety unexcelled in fervor, a courage leonine in its fierceness, a self-abnegation saintly in its purity, a resolve granite-like in its firmness, a vision stupendous in its range, … a standard of faith and a code of conduct that challenged and revolutionized the lives of their countrymen.”3

The year of the Báb’s declaration in 1844 is the beginning of the Bahá’í calendar, known as the Badí‘ calendar, confirmed and adopted by Bahá’u’lláh.

“The adoption of a new calendar in each dispensation is a symbol of the power of Divine Revelation to reshape human perception of material, social, and spiritual reality. Through it, sacred moments are distinguished, humanity’s place in time and space reimagined, and the rhythm of life recast.”4

With this historic Declaration the dawn of an Age that signalizes the consummation of all ages had broken.

 

* In the current year 2024, the date was May 23.

Photo: Golgasht Mossafai - courtyard of the Friday mosque in Shiráz where the Báb used to pray.

Sources: 

  1. Shoghi Effendi, LETTERS ADDRESSED TO THE N.S.A. OF INDIA, June 22, 1943
  2. Bahá’u’lláh, Tablet of Visitation
  3. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By
  4. The Universal House of Justice

Montreal, June 17, 2023 - Some 300 participants from all walks of life attended a one-day conference, the second in Montreal, in the large auditorium of Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf. They came from all over the city, even as far away as the suburbs of Toronto! - Bahá'ís with their friends, neighbors and co-workers, to be an active partner in “Bahá'u'lláh's Vision for Humanity”.

Visionaries such as Alan DeSousa, Montreal city councillor, mayor of the borough of Saint-Laurent and current vice-president responsible for sustainable development, the environment, parks and green spaces, Aref Salem, city councillor and leader of the official opposition, Gabriela Guilbault, community "organizer" of Femmes internationales murs brisés and of CHINDAÏ's Mtl program, Kadiétou Savadogo, executive director of the Centre communautaire Bon Courage Place Benoît and her partner, actively participated in the conference's workshops and plenary sessions.

Organized by the Cluster Teaching Committee of Montréal Region, this conference gave participants the opportunity to better understand the nature of the spiritual enterprise in which they are engaged, to become aware of how far they have come, and to deepen their understanding of the demands of the current stage in the realization of the Divine Plan. They will strive to better appreciate the privilege of being part of a community that has set its sights on the spiritual and material transformation of society, and the good fortune of being linked by bonds of love and comradeship with brothers and sisters in a global effort, each working within the same framework of action, all united under the protective shadow of the Covenant.

This was the second time that a Bahá'í gathering had brought together a significant number of our friends from Montreal's Chinese community. In addition to plenary and small-group discussions, a lively children's program attracted and enabled many families to attend.

The program included 14 workshops with specific themes such as Building Dynamic Communities, Contributing to Social Transformation and Educational Projects and the Training Institute, all part of the consultation. Youth and children also had their own workshops and themes to work on! They used art as a means par excellence to express their views on how to build a better world!

The conference theme was based on the goals of the Universal House of Justice's Nine-Year Plan initiated in 2022, and inspiring individuals and communities to unleash their potential to achieve these goals.

Montreal, September 21, 2023 - In a musical atmosphere and under a blue sky, the traditional ceremony for the International Day of Peace took place in Saint-Laurent at Beaudet Park, also known as "Peace Park." ! Every year, this ceremony brings together elected officials, including members of the Saint-Laurent Borough Council, a dozen representatives of the borough's professional and community organizations, the Saint-Laurent Intercultural Committee and several students representing Saint-Laurent schools.

This annual event is organized in partnership with the Borough of Saint-Laurent, the Comité interculturel de Saint-Laurent of the COSSL (Comité des organismes sociaux de Saint-Laurent) and the Communauté bahá'íe de Montréal.

This year's theme "Action for Peace: Our Ambitions for the Global Goals" is a call to action that recognizes our individual and collective responsibility to promote peace, to create a culture of peace and to lead the way for the well-being of humanity now and in the future.

Gigi Vidal, representing the Comité interculturel de Saint-Laurent, quoted the words of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who declared: "Peace is needed today more than ever. War and conflict cause devastation, poverty and hunger, and drive tens of millions of people from their homes. Climate chaos is everywhere,  and even peaceful countries are plagued by inequality and political polarization. We invite you to act for peace; fight inequality, take action on climate change, promote prosperity while protecting the planet, and promote and protect human rights.""Together, we can help lead our world to a greener, fairer, more just and safer future for all."

She concluded by saying that "world peace is not only possible but inevitable" and that we must work to achieve Unity in Diversity and social justice.

Aref Salem, of Saint-Laurent Borough Council, City Councillor and Leader of the Official Opposition, for whom the theme of peace and community safety is very dear, spoke of the importance of building together a healthy planet where we live in harmony with others. How privileged we are to be able to gather together in our Parc de la Paix to celebrate the peace and harmony that has reigned here in Saint-Laurent for so many years!

The president of the Universal Peace Federation presented their annual "Road to Peace" activity and extended an invitation to participate in this year's event. The Lions Club representative presented their annual "Peace Poster Contest."

The presence and performances of youngsters from the Centre communautaire Bon Courage Place Benoît (testimonials, slams, dances) and from the École internationale des Apprenants (very touching messages on peace, poem, drawings) were warmly welcomed and applauded. Three visual arts students from the Cégep de Saint-Laurent created a beautiful collaborative mural on the theme of the day. All these young people, so committed to peace, demonstrated through their talents that they are our peace-builders and ambassadors! Together, they can change the world!

As every year, a minute's silence was observed in memory of the victims of conflict and war.

The ceremony ended in a jovial, fraternal and cordial atmosphere, accompanied by the music of Jacques Proulx, who created a warm atmosphere with his professional skill that delighted our hearts!

Montreal, May 29, 2023 - Friends from the "Coeur de l'Est", Anjou and Saint-Laurent neighbourhoods gathered to commemorate the ascension of God's universal Messenger at the dawn of this memorable morning! The immortal soul of God's Manifestation, Bahá'u'lláh, took flight for the eternal Kingdom at dawn on May 29, 1892, eight hours after sunset.

Nine months before His ascension Bahá’u’lláh, as attested by Abdu'l-Bahá, had voiced His desire to depart from this world. From that time onward it became increasingly evident, from the tone of His remarks to those who attained His presence, that the close of His earthly life was approaching, though He refrained from mentioning it openly to anyone. On the night preceding May 8, 1892, He contracted a slight fever which, though it mounted the following day, soon after subsided. He continued to grant interviews to certain of the friends and pilgrims, but it soon became evident that He was not well. His fever returned in a more acute form than before, His general condition grew steadily worse, complications ensued which at last culminated in His ascension, at the hour of dawn, on May 29, 1892, eight hours after sunset, in the 75th year of His age. His spirit, at long last released from the toils of a life crowded with tribulations, had winged its flight to His "other dominions," dominions "whereon the eyes of the people of names have never fallen."

Bahá’u’lláh was accordingly laid to rest in the northernmost room of the house which served as a dwelling-place for His son-in-law, the most northerly of the three houses lying to the west of, and adjacent to, the Mansion. His interment took place shortly after sunset, on the very day of His ascension.

With the ascension of Bahá’u’lláh draws to a close a period which, in many ways, is unparalleled in the world's religious history. The first century of the Baha'i Era had by now run half its course. An epoch, unsurpassed in its sublimity, its fecundity and duration by any previous Dispensation, and characterized, except for a short interval of three years, by half a century of continuous and progressive Revelation, had terminated. The Message proclaimed by the Bab had yielded its golden fruit. The most momentous, though not the most spectacular phase of the Heroic Age had ended. The Sun of Truth, the world's greatest Luminary, had risen in the Siyah-Chal (subterranean black pit prison)of Tihran, had broken through the clouds which enveloped it in Baghdad, had suffered a momentary eclipse whilst mounting to its zenith in Adrianople and had set finally in Akka, never to reappear ere the lapse of a full millennium.

An ocular witness writes:

Outwardly He was a Prisoner, condemned and wronged, but in reality, He was the Sun of Glory, the Manifestation of grandeur and majesty, the King of the Kingdom of poise and dignity. Although He showed much compassion and loving-kindness, and approached anyone who came to His presence with tender care and humbleness, and often used to make humorous remarks to put them at ease, yet in spite of these, no one, whether faithful or disbelieving, learned or unlettered, wise or foolish, was able to utter ten words in His presence in the usual everyday manner. Indeed, many would find themselves to be tremulous with an impediment in their speech.​ 

References:

- God Passes By, Shoghi Effendi

- Haji Mirza Heydar Ali, quoted in Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh

 

 

Montreal, September 3, 2023 - Since 2002, throughout the Bahá'í world, believers and institutions have focused their efforts on executing a fundamental strategy aimed at creating a culture of growth. The aim of this exercise is to develop human resources and the movement of geographical groupings from one stage of growth to the next.

To achieve this goal, it is necessary to have the measurable growth indices that the members of each sector exercise in the brainstorming meetings. These meetings take place every 90 days.

So it was that some thirty West Island Bahá'ís, their children and friends gathered at Carya Gardens in Senneville.

A program for children and young people included a nature walk accompanied by a local ornithologist and the picking of colourful tomatoes!

Consultation and exchange at the brainstorming meeting were based more on sharing between teams of friends serving in different parts of the group. The aim was to create a collective vision and goal.

It is with such thoughts in mind that Bahá’ís enter into collaboration, as their resources permit, with an increasing number of movements, organizations, groups and individuals, establishing partnerships that strive to transform society and further the cause of unity, promote human welfare, and contribute to world solidarity.

— THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

Montreal, May 23 2023 – Shoghi Effendi, the late Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, writes in a letter addressed to the Bahá’í Community of India that “The believers must hold gatherings for the Bahá'ís at exactly 2 hours and 11 minutes after sunset on May 22nd, 1944* as this is the exact time when The Báb declared His Mission to Mulla Hussayn. They should also arrange to hold public gatherings on May 23rd and enlist the support of prominent friends of the Faith as speakers, together with Bahá'í speakers, on that occasion. They should, as far as possible, hold festive gatherings at this time, give banquets at which friends of the Cause and believers are present, obtain as much space in the press of India as possible, and in general devise ways and means of making this a glorious and memorable celebration.”1

In Montreal neighbourhoods as well as throughout the world, the Bahá’ís and their friends celebrated this auspicious occasion with joy and happiness.

In Saint-Laurent neighbourhood a celebration gathering took place via videoconference with a dozen of friends including friends from “Coeur de l’Est” and Anjou. A befitting program including videos portraying the event of that memorable night, 180 years ago, which took place in the upper chamber of a modest house in an obscure corner of the city of Shiraz in southern Iran!

In the “Tablet of visitation” revealed by the author of the Bahá’í Faith and it is recited during such events, He affirms: “I testify, moreover, that with but a movement of Thy Pen Thine injunction “Be Thou” hath been enforced, and God’s hidden Secret hath been divulged, and all created things have been called into being, and all the Revelations have been sent down.”2

The event of that memorable night of May 23, was indeed a “trail-breakers of the New Day, … to so much intrigue, ignorance, depravity, cruelty, superstition and cowardice opposed a spirit exalted, unquenchable and awe-inspiring, a knowledge surprisingly profound, an eloquence sweeping in its force, a piety unexcelled in fervor, a courage leonine in its fierceness, a self-abnegation saintly in its purity, a resolve granite-like in its firmness, a vision stupendous in its range, … a standard of faith and a code of conduct that challenged and revolutionized the lives of their countrymen.”3

The year of the Báb’s declaration in 1844 is the beginning of the Bahá’í calendar, known as the Badí‘ calendar, confirmed and adopted by Bahá’u’lláh.

“The adoption of a new calendar in each dispensation is a symbol of the power of Divine Revelation to reshape human perception of material, social, and spiritual reality. Through it, sacred moments are distinguished, humanity’s place in time and space reimagined, and the rhythm of life recast.”4

With this historic Declaration the dawn of an Age that signalizes the consummation of all ages had broken.

 

*In the current year 2023, the date was May 23.

Sources:

  • Shoghi Effendi, LETTERS ADDRESSED TO THE N.S.A. OF INDIA, June 22, 1943
  • Bahá’u’lláh, Tablet of Visitation
  • Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By
  • The Universal House of Justice

Montreal, June 25, 2023 - As part of the 2nd edition of the Festival of Diversity organized by the Bon courage Place Benoît Community Center from July 24 to 30, 2023, the Saint-Laurent Bahá'í Community was invited as guest of honour to take part in a round table discussion on the theme: "Sport, the arts and political commitment: how can we ensure the inclusive integration of young people from immigrant communities in Quebec?

We agreed to talk about: "How art could be a unifying element to integrate young people into our community," says Gigi Vidal, spokesperson for the Bahá'í community.

The festival kicked off at around 11 a.m., in the presence of the Executive Director of the Bon Courage Community Centre, the Assistant to the Member of Parliament, Ms. Emmanuella Lambropoulos, Montreal City Councillor and Leader of the Official Opposition, Mr. Aref Salem, and a hundred other guests, representing dozens of ethnicities and cultures from Saint-Laurent.

In his welcome address, the spokesman for the Bahá'í community warmly thanked the Bon Courage Centre for inviting us as their guest of honour! 

The organizers of the Bon Courage Centre, who for the 2nd year running had organized this magnificent Festival of Diversity for the betterment of the Laurentian community, are made up of dozens of devoted people who have given their heart to community action. Their dedication is an example to us all!

Although a small community, the Bahá'í Faith has been established in Saint-Laurent for 57 years and participates fully in the life of society, contributing to the social, material and spiritual progress of the Laurentian community. 

The panelists were made up of three speakers and a moderator, including Cynthia Wu-Maheux, who began her speech with a quote from the Universal House of Justice on the importance of art in the community:

"The arts as a whole, which are an integral part of community development from the outset, stand out as an important tool for generating joy, strengthening bonds of unity, spreading knowledge and consolidating understanding. And, of course, there's always a strong emphasis on opening up to the outside world: finding ways to share. An elegant integration of the arts into the various activities enhances the wave of energy."

A lively debate followed the speakers' presentations, which lasted a long time! The conversation with Cynthia continued outside the conference room, in the parking lot and finally in the park next door until 5:30 p.m.!

The activity in Poirier Park the following day was also very lively! The Bahá'í community had a booth, a peace banner, flyers for youth empowerment activities and general information about the Faith. Some young people from the CEGEP Vanier youth empowerment program were also present. Many a message of Peace was written on tree leaves and glued to the banner! Unfortunately a thunderstorm cut the day short and the event was over by 6 p.m.

 

Bahá'í Center

 

177, av des Pins E
Montréal, QC H2W 1N9
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Phone: 514-849-0753

Click here for map and hours

 

 

Montreal Shrine

 

1548, av des Pins O, Montreal
Phone: 514-568-2104

Click here for map and hours

 

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