Montreal Dio Commemorates 150 Years of Ministry

On Sunday, October 29th, Christ Church Cathedral hosted a special service of Evensong in thanksgiving for 150 years of ministry at Montreal Diocesan Theological College. The service included the debut of a new hymn for the 150th anniversary of the college entitled “Ascend, O Friends, With Gladness” with text (found below) written by The Rev. Canon Giuseppe Gagliano, a member of the Dio Board and a priest in the Diocese of Quebec. Many stayed for a reception following the service, which included a historical display that explored the college’s history through a lens of ecumenism and mission, and drew attention to key events that shaped Dio into the college we know today. During his commemorative speech, Principal Jesse Zink noted that “sometimes we look at this history and see the college moving in a direction of openness and generosity faster than the church itself. Other times, the college took steps that seemed to constrain possibility. This evening therefore we commemorate 150 years of faithfulness, but also of flaws, 150 years of fortitude, but also of failings. It is right, therefore, that we place our focus not on the college itself but on the God whose faithfulness has sustained this work and sustains it to this day.It was a joyful occasion of giving thanks for the blessing of Dio, its legacy, its surrounding community, and its capacity for transformation and innovation by the grace of God.

Below you will find the text for “Ascend O Friends, with Gladness” written by The Rev. Canon Giuseppe Gagliano.

1. Ascend, O friends, with gladness!
Christ calls us, one and all,
to journey as disciples,
to heed the Spirit’s call.
It’s good for us to be here,
enshrouded by the cloud
where witnesses are tended
with lively faith endowed:
to learn from one another,
hear seers who came before,
partake of visions glorious,
petition, and adore.

2. By knowledge flames are kindled—
a sacred blaze endures—
yet bushels dare to hinder
and self this gift obscures.
Trust not the mirrors darkly,
nor build on shifting sands.
Our icon is the Saviour
who heals with wounded hands:
in sacrifice, a mission
to set our love aright,
to serve as Christ has served us.
In light we see the light.

3. Transform, O Holy Spirit,
our vessels wrought of clay
that even by our weakness
your glory will display.
For seeds to blossom fruitful,
they die within the earth:
e’en so, we bear our crosses
until the promised birth.
In life beyond our ending
we’ll know as we are known:
proclaim we ’til the dayspring
that we are not alone.

4. We came with trepidation
unsure of will divine;
but here the face of Jesus
appears in radiant shine.
Let’s not make tents for dwelling
upon this royal mount,
but share the hope and knowledge
born out of wisdom’s fount.
A groaning world is waiting
to glimpse what we have seen,
to taste of resurrection,
to walk where we have been.

5. Have mercy, Lord of ages,
we raise our prayer this day:
keep evermore your servants
within the narrow way,
that we may shepherd graceful
in ways that Jesus trod
and guide the pilgrim body
to you, the Triune God.
O Holy Holy Holy
is God, immortal, strong!
Pro Christo et ecclesia
shall be our endless song.

Press play to hear it sung: