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Turn to Jesus (Article)

God’s Providence
Fr Denis Tassé, L.C. (Canada)

"<br>P. Denis Tassé, L.C."
P. Denis Tassé, L.C."

When we perceive God’s call and the action of his grace in the life of his chosen ones, we sense the preparation that the good Lord arranges, not only for those souls directly, but also for those who have had an influence in their lives. I would like to explain briefly how God acted in my family, even before I was born.

My two grandmothers were very holy women. Prayer and sacrifice were always presen tin the life of my grandmother on my father’s side. She stayed up every night until all of her children were home, and she made sure that each one prayed the Rosary before going to bed. If one of them had not prayed it, she prayed it again with him. She prayed to God for a priestly vocation in her family, but it seems that God did not hear her prayer. My father was born in Papineauville in Quebec. When he was two years old, his mother died and he had to move in with his uncle, in Currant in Ontario, for his father could not take care of his entire family by himself. His adoptive mother prayed to have a priest son and the only one who showed any interest was her adopted son, but it was not his vocation. Once again, it seemed that God was not listening to his servant’s prayer. In high school, my father met my mother. His mother was also a holy woman, and she also prayed for a vocation in her family.

My return to Christ

My parents had four children, three boys and then finally a daughter. I am the oldest. As a child, I liked to pretend to celebrate Mass at home for my mother, who could not always go. But as an adolescent, my desire to be a priest, and even my faith, vanished. I always believed in God, and I tried to practice my faith, but after four days I dropped it all because it was too hard. Then I became indifferent to God. On December 27, 1994, on the feast of St. John the Evangelist, I went to a party with my improvisation team at the family home of a team member. The host family invited us to join them in praying the Rosary. To my great surprise, everyone, except four, went to pray the Rosary. I agreed to go
"<br>P. Denis Tassé, L.C."
pray the Rosary, and I prayed the entire thing on my knees.

During all these years separated from God, I felt the desire to return to God, but I found that living the faith to perfection was too difficult. I felt an attraction to God, and I always felt that I had a great mission to fulfill in this world, and even that, in spite of my separation from God, I perceived his love for me, even though I tried to distance myself from him.

After having prayed the Rosary, I heard that there was a prayer group in my town. I then felt the urgent desire to change my life and return to Christ. The Blessed Virgin Mary had touched my heart.

The prayer group

On January 3, 1995, I went to the prayer group, although my father was not in favor of it. He thought that this group could be dangerous or sectarian. When I got there, I opened the door, looked inside the house, and asked if there was a prayer group. Jean Charles Rochon, the group leader, got up and came to greet me. I went to sit down at the back of the room and the topic of the talk was Mary and the devotion of the five first Saturdays of the month. After the talk, we went to pray the Rosary in the small chapel in the basement. At the end of the evening, I decided to go to confession on the following Saturday and finally change my life to return to Christ. From that moment on, I started to live my life as a Christian. I really liked to go to Jean Charles’ house, to the point of sacrificing my ice hockey session on Tuesday evening. After a month, I reduced my ice hockey time to go to Jean Charles’ house. Finally, I left hockey, which was my great passion, to go to his house every evening to talk about Christ, the Blessed Virgin, and the Church. After some months, the prayer group went through some ups and downs. The group had been invited to join another group directed by a religious sister. Jean Charles motive the group to go there, since this group was directed by religious and the Blessed Sacrament was at the convent. But the youth decided not to go and to stay with Jean Charles. I was absent the night this decision was made. Faced with the refusal to join the other group of youth, we were considered “a dangerous sect” and there were many false rumors about our little prayer group. After a month, we were reduced to four members. We met every day. For us, the most important thing was our relationship with the Lord, with Mary, and each other. The youngest, age 14, found the name of our group: “the youth consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.” We went on pilgrimage together and did apostolic projects, such as visiting homes and talking about our faith. Here is a story that shows all the graces that the Lord gave us through our visits. One day, we went to visit a family in the Sherbrooke region, and invited many youth to come, along with the priest to celebrate the Mass. We talked about our faith and the sacrament of reconciliation. At Mass time, the priest was not ready. We continued talking. The reason for his delay was that all the youth went to confession before Mass.

Little by little, I started to go deeper in my spiritual life. I prayed the three parts of the Rosary every day. I went to Mass as often as possible during the week and I went to confession every week. My love for the Blessed Virgin was at the center of my spiritual life. I owe her so much for her motherly protection, not only for her spiritual protection, but also for her physical protection. Just to give an example, one day we were demolishing a house and a beam fell on my head. My head was driven into the mud, and a few centimeters away, there was a big wooden nail. If my head had been a few centimeters to the left, it would have been pierced.

The idea of becoming a priest occurred to me during my last year of high school, but I was constantly fighting it. At night, I dreamed that I was a priest. One day, we went on a Marian pilgrimage. I stayed a little longer in the chapel to pray. When I came out, I met two ladies and they told me I would be a good priest. I answered them, “Yes, yes, if the good God wants it” but inside, I didn’t want to know anything about the priesthood. The same thing happened another time after Mass in my parish. A lady told me that I would be a good priest. I gave her the same answer.

My contact with the Legion of Christ

In October 1995, a friend showed me an article about the Legionaries of Christ in Cornwall, Ontario. After giving it a quick read, I decided to visit them after the Christmas feasts. Although I never mentioned it to anyone, on December 7, 1995 I received a phone call from a Legionary brother who invited me to visit the community on the same dates I had planned. But I did not confirm my visit.

On December 26, I came to Cornwall to visit the novitiate of the Legionaries of Christ. I went with another member of the prayer group. A Legionary priest welcomed us at the door and led us to a room. It was freezing, and no beds were made; we had to make them ourselves. The reason for this problem was that they were not expecting our visit. A few minutes after our arrival, we were brought to another room that was all prepared.

For my spring vacation, I decided to spend my two weeks with the novices in Cornwall and follow their schedule. In May 1996, I went to the first meeting of youth and families in Chicago. It was a beautiful experience, even though I didn’t speak English or Spanish.

In spite of all these meetings with the Legion of Christ, I did not want to become a priest. The final yes to God came two weeks before the start of the candidacy in Cornwall. I was sittin gin a tractor, working in a hay field, and some questions came to mind: “Do you love God? Do you love souls? Do you want to save as many souls as possible? Do you love the Blessed Virgin?” To all of these questions, I answered yes without hesitating. But the last was, “So, why don’t you become a priest?” This question made me hesitate, and finally I accepted the call from God. After having accepted God’s call, a great peace came over my soul.

I entered the candidacy of the Legionaries of Christ on July 1, 1996. When I go there, I was very happy. My first crisis came when my family left. It was the first time I felt the “physical” separation from  my family, but I put my vocation in the hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary and in the hands of the Lord. I told the Lord, “Here I am to do your will.”

FATHER DENIS TASSÉ was born in Ottawa, Ontario, on August 28, 1977. He joined the novitiate of the Legionaries of Christ on September 14, 1996 in Cornwall, Ontario. He studied liberal arts in Cheshire, Connecticut and received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy in New York and his bachelor’s in theology at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College in Rome. He worked with youth for five years in Mexico, the United States, Italy, and France. Since the summer of 2010, he has worked with the youth in western Canada.

The vocation stories of the Legionaries of Christ who were ordained in 2010 have been published in the book "From the Heart of Christ."



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