Alleluia! Jesus is risen! He has passed from death to life, from darkness to light!
How do we sing Alleluia and believe in a full and happy life for all our brothers and sisters on this earth? How do we hope for a world of peace and love when we are witnesses to the hate and the violence in so many countries torn apart by war and conflicts, and all the destruction, death, terror and the contempt of human rights that goes with it?
How do we jump for joy before the misery, the famine, the displacement and the migration of entire populations? How do we rejoice before joblessness, depression, broken families, indifference and the ravages against our mother earth?
If we let this sadness overcome us, we risk falling into discouragement or withdrawal. What good would that do? However, everything changes when we open our eyes to all the gestures of mutual aid, of sharing, of forgiveness; of all the projects, here or abroad, that try to help others back on their feet; of all those who lift others up and give of their time, money and energy to build God’s kingdom, a kingdom of life, love, justice and light!
Looking at it this way is catching a glimpse of the victory of Life over death, of Light over darkness, of Love over hate. Is this not the Good News that the Risen Christ brings to us and offers to the world, by our radiance, our witness and our proximity to the little ones and the forgotten ones of the earth!
Yes we can sing Alleluia, providing that we are capable of recognizing Jesus Alive, working among us; providing that we are not looking for him among the dead!
Yes, Alleluia, because I am alive and today, the Risen Jesus gives me the gift of life! Alleluia and thank you to all those who are alive and are signs of the Resurrection!
Happy and Holy Easter to everyone!
April 10th 2017
2017 Video Message for Easter from the CCCB President
The Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), has videotaped his message for Easter. Bishop Crosby recalls that "Easter is meant to leave us with a very different sense of the present and the future. It offers a reality that is full of joy. Easter proclaims that fear and terror and death are not the end of the story." At the conclusion, he notes: "For all of us standing at the empty tomb – whatever the circumstances – there is unfathomable hope. There is hope for those on the peripheries of society; hope for governments and leaders; hope for the Church in this time of purification and renewal, hope for you and for me striving to lead a holy life (cf. Jeremiah 29: 11)." The production of the video was made possible thanks to the collaboration of Salt + Light Television.
Praying for peace in Syria on October 4 and 31, 2016
The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace – Caritas Canada is organizing a day of prayer for peace in Syria on the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, Tuesday, October 4, 2016. In addition, the Holy See recently announced that there will also be an international and ecumenical day of prayer on October 31, 2016, for peace in the Middle East and especially for all the people of Syria. This is on the occasion of the Pope's Apostolic Voyage to Sweden to mark the ecumenical commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
Almost 4,000 Canadian youth going to Krakow for World Youth Day 2016
(CCCB - Ottawa)... Young pilgrims from all over the world are expected in Krakow, Poland, July 25-31, 2016, to participate in the31st World Youth Day (WYD). Krakow is the city of Karol Wojtyla – Saint John Paul II – who in his early years as priest, university chaplain, Bishop and then Cardinal Archbishop sowed the seeds of what would become in the first years of his pontificate "World Youth Days".
Close to 3,750 young Canadian pilgrims are registered to attend this international gathering that has as its theme Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Mt 5.7). Following the examples of the 2011 WYD in Madrid and the 2013 WYD in Rio de Janeiro, the Canadian pilgrims will again gather for a national celebration that will be held this year at 1:00 p.m., on July 26, 2016, the Feast of Saint Anne and Saint Joachim, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The event will take place in Krakow's Tauron Arena, which will also be the major English-language site hosted by the Knights of Columbus throughout the WYD celebrations. His Eminence Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of Canada will preside at the prayer service which will involve Bishops, priests, consecrated persons, youth ministers, musicians, artists and several thousand young Canadian pilgrims.
In addition to the 3,700 young people, the Canadian delegation will include nine Bishops from Canada. The Pontifical Council for the Laity has invited three of the Canadian Bishops to serve as catechists for the youth pilgrims: Cardinal Lacroix; the Most Reverend Albert LeGatt, Archbishop of Saint-Boniface; and the Most Reverend Bryan Bayda, C.Ss.R., Ukrainian Catholic Eparchial Bishop of Saskatoon. Young Canadians will have key roles during the various ceremonies, liturgies and events of the Krakow World Youth Day. From July 20 to 25, many Canadian pilgrims will also have the opportunity to participate in various activities for the Days in the Dioceses of Poland.
During his apostolic voyage to the country, Pope Francis will preside at a number of celebrations. These will include the Eucharistic celebration for the 1050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland which will take place at the national shrine of the Jasna Góra Monastery at which the country's political and religious leaders will also be present; the WYD welcoming ceremony (July 28); the Way of the Cross on Friday evening (July 29) at Blonia Park; the Eucharist with Polish priests, consecrated persons and seminarians at the Sanctuary of Saint John Paul II (July 30); and the WYD Prayer Vigil on Saturday evening and the final Eucharistic celebration on Sunday (July 31) at Campus Misericordiae. The Holy Father will likewise visit the Auschwitz concentration camp where he will pray in the cell of the martyr Saint Maximilian Kolbe on the 75th anniversary of his death, as well as offer a prayer in silence at the International Monument for the victims of the Birkenau extermination camp which was part of the Auschwitz complex. Among the estimated 1.1 million prisoners who died at Auschwitz were Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) and her sister, Rosa, also a Carmelite Sister.
The Holy Father's schedule for the week will also include a celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation with young people participating in WYD; a visit to the Children's University Hospital; a meeting with the Bishops of Poland; prayer in the chapel of the tomb of Saint Faustina; and the blessing of two Caritasbuildings for the poor and the elderly, as well as a meeting with WYD volunteers in the Tauron Arena.
Program schedule for Salt and Light Television
Salt and Light, Canada's national Catholic television network, available on satellite and cable television throughout the country as well as around the world on the Internet at www.saltandlighttv.org/ orwww.seletlumieretv.org, will be in Poland throughout the week with the network's CEO, Father Thomas Rosica, C.S.B. Salt and Light will provide live coverage of World Youth Day's most important moments, including the catechesis sessions as well as numerous interviews. Salt and Light coverage will be featured in Australia, with Catholic Television of Boston, the Hong Kong Diocese Audio Visual Center, and with the United States Military Ordinariate. Having previously served as National Director and CEO of Canada's World Youth Day in 2002, Father Rosica is the national coordinator of the Canadian delegation to World Youth Day 2016 in Poland. The special website www.wydcentral.org will also carry WYD highlights.
Last Updated on Wednesday, July 06 2016
Three young Valleyfield diocese are among the 750 young Quebecers and 4000 Canadians who will soon travel to Krakow, Poland. Sarah and Chloe Laberge from Immaculée-Conception's Parish, as well as Hector Avellaneda Sanabria, seminarian who currently resides in Chateauguay, will be accompanied by Nathalie Lemaire and Linda Bergeron, paroral agents, and by Cynthia Crevier, Youth Ministry responsible for the Diocese of Valleyfield.
(CCCB – Ottawa)... His Holiness Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Jean Gagnon as Bishop of the Diocese of Gaspé, and has appointed on July 2, 2016, as his successor the Most Reverend Gaétan Proulx, O.S.M. At the time of his appointment, the Bishop-elect was Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Québec. Bishop Gagnon has been Bishop of the Diocese of Gaspé for the past 15 years. He had submitted his resignation to the Holy Father upon reaching the age of 75, as required by the Code of Canon Law.
Bishop-Elect Gaétan Proulx, O.S.M., was born on May 27, 1947, in Saint-Denis-de-Brompton, Quebec. After joining the Servite Order, he obtained a Bachelor's degree in philosophy from the Dominican University College in Ottawa, and a Master's of Theology from Laval University in Quebec. Ordained a priest on June 8, 1975, he served as assistant and master of novices for his community until his departure for France in 1985, where he served his priestly ministry in the Dioceses of Séez and Belley-Ars. In 1989, he was called to Brussels to serve as Master of Formation for the Servites in France, Belgium and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He returned to Quebec in 1991, where he again served as Master of Formation for the Servites of Quebec, while also serving the Saint-Jean-Baptiste-de-la-Salle Parish in Quebec City. In 2000, he became Prior of the Canadian Servite Province and, in 2005, administrator and pastor of Notre-Dame-de-Foy Parish, until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Québec on December 12, 2011.
Bishop Gagnon was born on May 21, 1941, in St-Joseph-de-Lauzon, Quebec. He was ordained a priest in 1966 for the Archdiocese of Québec. On December 4, 1998, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Québec. Appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Gaspé on July 21, 2001, he was named Bishop of the same diocese on November 15, 2002. As a member of the CCCB, Bishop Gagnon has served as member and Chairman of the former Commission for Social Affairs (1999-2003), member of the former Programs and PrioritiesCommittee (2001-2003), member of the former Commission for Christian Education of the French Sector (2003-2005), and member of the Commission for Liturgy and Sacraments of the French Sector (2011-2016). Bishop Gagnon has also been a CCCB representative on the Board of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) (2005-2007) and was its Chairman (2007-2009).
According to the CCCB 2016 Directory, the Diocese of Gaspé has 64 parishes and missions, with a Catholic population of 85,840 served by 37 diocesan priests, three priests who are members of institutes of consecrated life, five permanent deacons, 115 religious Sisters and Brothers who are members of religious institutes, as well as four lay pastoral workers.
Last Updated on Monday, July 04 2016
June 22nd 2016
Fair Trade Coffee: Drink to the Health of Green Churches
Laval, June 22 2016 – The Green Churches Network can now offer its own brand of organic fair trade coffee for sale. The purchase of Green Churches coffee helps Canadian churches reduce their ecological footprint, and improves the working conditions of small-scale organic coffee producers in Latin America. The Green Churches coffee is a blend of coffees coming from four countries: Bolivia, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Peru. Consumers may order the coffee by telephone or by visiting the network’s website (www.greenchurches.ca).
One may buy one 454g bag of coffee for 12$ per unit, plus shipping fees, or one box of 30 454g bags, without shipping fees, for 11$ per unit.
The Green Churches Network works in partnership with the Santropol coffee roasters, located in Montreal, who market organic and fair trade certified products. Through this partnership with Santropol, the Network demonstrates its firm support of fair trade, which improves the working conditions and minimum wages of small producers, respect for the environment and promotes an equitable distribution of benefits. The Green Churches coffee is a blend of coffees all certified under the Small Producers Symbol (www.SPP.coop).
The profits from buying Green Churches fair trade coffee will be allocated to provide better service for the churches registered in the Network. More importantly, the Network wants to offer churches and individuals the opportunity to take a concrete step towards expanding the Green Churches initiative and reducing world poverty. As you pour yourself a cup of fair trade coffee, you drink to the Green Churches good health.
May 11th 2016
May 10th 2016
Invitation to dioceses/eparchies to encourage fundraising efforts for victims in and surrounding Fort McMurray
Pope Francis and the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), have sent a message to the Most Reverend Paul Terrio, Bishop of Saint. Paul. Both texts concern the wildfire disaster in Fort McMurray and surrounding region. The letter from the President of the CCCB includes an invitation for all Bishops to encourage their faithful to pray for those in the city and area of Fort McMurray, as well as to make donations to assist those impacted by this terrible natural disaster.
Bishop Noel Simard has approved of celebrating FILIPINO MASS in our Diocese.
If you have a good number of Filipino members in your parish/church and are interested in hosting a FILIPINO MASS in your church, don't hesitate to contact Fr. Jerome Pastores (email@example.com) for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist in FILIPINO.
Fr. Jerome is available for Filipino Masses on the FIRST SUNDAY and THIRD SUNDAY of the month at 3:00 PM starting April 2016.
upon his return from the Synod on October 27th, 2015.
ANNIVERSARY OF THE CANONIZATION OF ST. KATERI TEKAKWITHA - OCTOBER 21, 2012
Three years have passed since that glorious celebration in Rome when our own Kateri Tekakwitha was declared a Saint! Born in 1656 at Ossernenon of a Mohawk father and Christian Algonquin mother, Kateri grew up innocent, industrious, chaste. After her baptism on Easter, 1676, Kateri became a model of prayer, love of the Holy Eucharist and of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On the Feast of the Annunciation, 1679, she made a vow of virginity and gave herself entirely to Jesus to spread His love to all she contacted. She truly lived out the Beatitudes that Jesus preached.
Blessed are the Poor in Spirit, the reign of God is theirs.
Blessed are the Sorrowing, they shall be consoled.
Blessed are the Lowly, they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who Hunger and Thirst for Holiness, they shall have their fill.
Blessed are they who show Mercy, mercy shall be theirs.
Blessed are the Single-hearted, they shall see God.
Blessed too the Peace-makers, they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those Persecuted for Holiness' Sake, the reign of
God is theirs.
It is no wonder that from the day of Kateri's death, April 17, 1680, her family and friends called her "Blessed!" From 1680 to 2012, millions prayed that her virtues would gain world recognition by an official proclamation of her sanctity by the Church. Through her intercession, untold numbers of miracles had been worked. For over 332 years, our Native People spread the Good News of Kateri's virtues, praying often "that this young Lover of Jesus and of His Cross may soon be counted among her saints by Holy Mother Church." On October 21, 2012, over 700 of our own Mohawks made the great pilgrimage to Rome to celebrate the Canonization of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. Everyone was so enthusiastic in honoring her. Are we now as enthusiastic in imitating her? We traveled thousands of miles to Rome for the canonization Mass, but can we travel from our homes here at Akwesasne to St. Regis Church to offer with Jesus the ultimate Sacrifice of the Mass each Sunday?
Like Kateri, are we now more loving, kind, and merciful toward our families and neighbors?
ST. KATERI TEKAKWITHA, LILY OF THE MOHAWKS, HELP US TO BE MORE LIKE YOU!
SOURCE: Bulletin of St. Regis Mission
RESPONDING AS CATHOLICS TO THE REFUGEE CRISIS
Open letter to Canadian Catholics
By Archbishop Paul-André Durocher
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
A drowned Syrian child washed up on a beach. A mother and daughter forbidden to board a train, their savings spent on a now useless ticket. Razor-sharp barbed-wire fences to keep refugees out. Miles and miles of homeless trudging along Europe’s roads. Millions of refugees in makeshift shelters throughout the Middle East, in Africa and other regions.
My dear brothers and sisters,
These past weeks all of us have been haunted by the images of refugees flooding into Europe from Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa. Since his pontificate began, Pope Francis has repeatedly reminded us of their need for help, and appealed to the world not to turn our hearts away when homeless masses seek shelter, protection and a better life. Shortly after his election as Bishop of Rome, the Holy Father visited the island of Lampedusa to focus attention on the boatloads of refugees who have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean:
These brothers and sisters of ours were trying to escape difficult situations to find some serenity and peace; they were looking for a better place for themselves and their families, but instead they found death. How often do such people fail to find understanding, fail to find acceptance, fail to find solidarity. And their cry rises up to God!
A year ago, speaking before the United Nations General Assembly, the Secretary of State for the Holy Father, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, repeated the Pope’s constant appeal to us and to the international community to “take action to end the humanitarian tragedy now underway” by preventing war, stopping aggressors, protecting populations and helping victims.
As our world and our country debate how best to respond, we as Catholics must ask what we might do personally and in our local communities. Here are a few suggestions on what we can do to help in this tragic, overwhelming and complex problem.
1. Sponsor a refugee family. During his Angelus message this past September 6, Pope Francis invited parishes, religious communities, monasteries, and shrines throughout Europe to welcome refugee families in preparation for the Year of Mercy. Should we in Canada do less? When we refuse to welcome others, our country, our homes and our hearts become closed to life. Although many among us face economic difficulties, what we have and own is so much more than what is accessible to the world’s refugees. For our own peace of mind and our eternal salvation, we cannot refuse to share what we have with those in need. Should you, with your diocese, parish or community organization wish to learn more about sponsoring a refugee family, you can obtain information and suggestions from:
Ø The Catholic Refugee Sponsors’ Council which brings together personnel from a number of diocesan and other Catholic offices involved in refugee sponsorship. Its focus is to assist in providing coordination, advocacy and information for Catholic refugee sponsoring organizations. Its website is https://catholicrefugeesponsors.wordpress.com/.
Ø The Office des communautés culturelles et rituelles of the Archdiocese of Montreal. Quebec has its own special regulations for immigration. The aims of the Office include facilitating the sponsorship of refugees and building bridges between different cultural and linguistic communities. It provides service in both French and English. Contact Alessandra Santopadre at 514-778-8950; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Donate. Our Church in Canada is blessed with several aid and development agencies which do outstanding international work and are deeply involved in assisting Syrian and other refugees and displaced persons. Their work is only possible through the generous donations and support of many Catholics as well as other people of good will. For more information on each organization, and how you can contribute, contact:
3. Get involved politically. Any response to a major emergency situation is always most effective when governments, local communities and committed citizens work together. Our current federal election campaign is an important moment to engage political candidates and parties on what, if elected, they will do to assist refugees. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), as well as the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, have each reflected on questions and concerns for voters to consider and discuss among themselves and with candidates running for office.
Ø The CCCB 2015 federal election guide includes questions about the reunification of immigrant and refugee families; the recognition of the skills of immigrants; human trafficking; and protection for the dignity of immigrants and refugees. The English-language version of this guide from our Commission for Justice and Peace is available at http://www.cccb.ca/site/images/stories/pdf/2015_Federal_Election_Guide_EN.pdf.
4. Be informed. The situations facing refugees, including those from Syria, are complicated. The questions involve not only the urgent need for humanitarian assistance, but also the complexities of international cooperation, peacekeeping, safeguarding communities from terrorist acts, and the enormous challenges in resettlement. In addition, local and regional conditions frequently change and new emergencies emerge. Our faith and our common humanity impel each of us to do what we can to assist. But our efforts will be all the more effective, and enduring, if we are well informed. In addition to the websites of the four Canadian development and aid agencies noted above, excellent sources of information as well as different perspectives on the needs of Syrian refugees and on the conditions affecting refugees in general are available from:
5. Combat prejudices and fears. Major obstacles facing refugees as they seek protection and shelter involve apathy, indifference, apprehensions and prejudices in those countries where they seek refuge. When our hearts are fearful, our doors remain closed to others in need. Many of the Syrian refugees are Christians or members of other minorities, but the majority are Muslim. New arrivals to Canada (and even others who have lived with us for years or even centuries) experience prejudice, intolerance, fear and indifference when they interact with our dominant society. One way to address this negative and destructive attitude, particularly when those targeted by prejudice belong to other religions, is through inter-religious dialogue. Moreover, as Pope Francis noted in his recent Encyclical Laudato Si’ (no. 201), religions should dialogue among themselves “for the sake of protecting nature, defending the poor and building networks of respect and fraternity.” Inter-religious dialogue not only builds bridges, but helps us affirm our own faith and understand it better.
Ø This past July, at the end of Ramadan, our Conference’s Commission for Christian Unity, Religious Relations with the Jews, and Interfaith Dialogue released a pastoral resource on how Catholics can better understand Islam. Entitled A Church in Dialogue -- Catholics and Muslims in Canada: Believers and Citizens in Society, the English version of this resource is available at http://www.cccb.ca/site/images/stories/pdf/CCCB_Muslim_EN_web.pdf.
Ø More recently, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of the Second Vatican Council on the Relations of the Church with Non-Christian Religions, Nostra Aetate, the Commission has released a resource on inter-religious dialogue, entitled A Church in Dialogue: The Catholic Church and Interreligious Dialogue. The English version is at http://www.cccb.ca/site/images/stories/pdf/Nostra_Aetate_-_50th_Anniversary.pdf.
6. Stay focused. There are some 13 million refugees now throughout the world, of whom four million are from Syria. The problems they face are immense, and their situations will not be easily or quickly resolved. Our efforts to work with refugees must be long-term, if they are to be treated justly and our world is to know peace. Within several months, our Conference’s Commission for Justice and Peace will release an up-to-date reflection on the challenges affecting refugees as they face resettlement in Canada. In addition, the Holy See offers resources to assist Catholics and others determined to stay focused on finding solutions.
7. Meditate on Scripture, fast and pray. Every good thought, word and deed is inspired by the Holy Spirit and will come to fulfillment in God the Father. With Christ, we are to take up his Cross to bring reconciliation and healing to others. Meditation, prayer and fasting focus our attention, move our hearts, give vision and insight. Moved by our meditation, we intercede to God through fasting and prayer to transform our lives, lead us to change our ways, and motivate us. Uniting us with God in his call to solidarity and compassion, by meditating on the Scriptures, praying and fasting, hope is born, our love for others strengthened, and our commitment to justice and charity deepened. Scripture, prayer and fasting show how faith must lead us to good works. It has been the practice over the past years for the Bishops of Canada to call on the Catholics in their diocese and parishes to meditate on, and to fast and pray for, the needs of all the people in the Middle East and for peace throughout the world.
Ø Check with your diocese and parish on plans for special days of reflection, prayer, fasting and community action for the displaced people of our world.
Ø Urge your parish to include the needs of refugees in the Prayers of the Faithful.
Ø Remember the millions of refugees in your own family and personal prayer, when you are meditating on Scripture, and in your own acts of fasting and penance.
My sisters and brothers, these are seven suggestions how each of us and our communities can respond to the refugee crisis. Joseph and Mary sought refuge in Bethlehem, and later with the Child Jesus experienced exile. During his ministry, Jesus had no place to call home. The refugee crisis is an important moment to deepen our faith, extend our charity, and summon up hope. Together we can make a better world for all those in need, and so witness to Christ’s Kingdom. Whatever we do to the least of our brothers and sisters, we do to Christ Our Lord (see Matthew 23.40).
Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
September 8, 2015
Archbishop of Gatineau
President of the Canadian Conference
of Catholic Bishops
“Praise be to you, my Lord”: Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis on care for our common home
During a news conference at the Vatican Press Office on June 18, 2015, the Holy See presented the second Encyclical Letter that Pope Francis has issued since the beginning of his pontificate. Entitled "Praise be to you, my Lord"(Laudato si'), the central question posed by the Holy Father is: "What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?" (no. 160). Pope Francis continues: "This question not only concerns the environment in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal." It leads to questions about the meaning of existence and the values which should be the basis of social life: "What is the purpose of our life in this world? Why are we here? What is the goal of our work and all our efforts? What need does the earth have of us?" The Holy Father adds, "Unless we struggle with these deeper issues, I do not believe that our concern for ecology will produce significant results."
Laudato si' is divided into six chapters: "What is Happening to our Common Home"; "The Gospel of Creation"; "The Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis"; "Integral Ecology"; "Lines of Approach and Action"; and "Ecological Education and Spirituality". In the Introduction to his Encyclical, the Holy Father makes the following appeal: "The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home" (no. 13). Pope Francis adds he wants "to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share."
To accompany the Encyclical Letter, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has prepared a listing of its recent texts and statements on the environment, as well as a list of recent joint statements with other Christian Churches and also with other Episcopal Conferences. The list of joint texts includes as well links to recent resources from the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP). Printed copies of the Encyclical Letter will be available from CCCB Publications for purchase in the coming weeks.
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) 2500 Don Reid Drive Ottawa, Ontario K1H 2J2 Tel: 613-241-9461 #225 Fax: 613-241-8117 www.cccb.ca
BISHOP ROBERT LEBELEmeritus Bishop of ValleyfieldNovember 8, 1924 - May 25, 2015
At the Dr-Aimé-Leduc Center, on May 25, 2015 , Bishop Robert Lebel, Eminent Bishop of the Diocese of Valleyfield, entered the house of God at the age of 90 years.
Born November 8, 1924 in Trois-Pistoles, in Bas-Saint-Laurent region (Eastern 3rd rank), in Quebec, he was the son of Wilfred Lebel, a farmer-dealer, and of Alexina Bélanger. He was the seventh in a family of nine children.
He attended elementary school in Trois-Pistoles, his classical studies at the Seminary of Rimouski (1938-1946 ) and his theological studies at the Grand Seminaire of Rimouski (1946-1947 ) and at St. Paul Seminary of the University of Ottawa (1947-1950 ) where he obtained a license.
Ordained a priest on June 18, 1950 at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges in Trois-Pistoles, Quebec, by Bishop Georges Courchesne, Archbishop of Rimouski. Afterwards, he got a doctorate in Theology at the Pontifical International Athenaeum in Rome (1950-1951).
Ministries and other positions:
1951-1955: Professor of Theology and Patrology at the Grand Seminary of Rimouski, Quebec
1952-1957 : Dominical Vicar at Annunciation Parish of the Blessed Mary of Nazareth in Rimouski, Quebec
1952-1963 : editor of the diocesan magazine ‘Le Centre Saint-Germain’
1963-1965 : Superior of the Grand Seminary of Rimouski, Quebec
1964: participated as a theologian of his bishop at the Vatican Council Vatican II in the fall session
1965-1969 : superior of the Small Seminary of Rimouski, Quebec
1969-1974 : Superior of the Grand Seminary of Rimouski and Theology Professor at the University of Quebec in Rimouski, Quebec
1969-1974 : moral advisor for SERENA organization couples and occasional family pastoral
1969-1974 : Chaplain of the Provincial House of the Sisters of the Holy Rosary in Rimouski, Quebec
1969-1974 : engaged in the Synod of the Diocese of Rimouski from the preparatory phase and moderator of the plenary meetings; participating in the work of the Canadian Theological Society; moral counselor of the National Society of Eastern Quebec; weekly religious publication in the ‘Progress-Echo’ of Rimouski, Quebec.
On March 12, 1974, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Saint-Jean- Longueuil, and occupant of Alinda. He was ordained bishop on May 12, 1974 by Bishop Gérard-Marie Coderre, bishop of the diocese. On March 31, 1976, at the age of 51, he was named the sixth bishop of Valleyfield and would be appointed on May 2 the following year.
Commissions and Committees of the Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB):
1974 member of the Theology Committee
1976-1979 member of the pastoral team of study and action
1976-1979 member of the Board of Directors
1979 President of the Episcopal Commission for Social Communications Department and extraordinary business
1980 participation at the Roman Synod of the family, as one of five elected representatives of the Conference
1981-1983 member of the Episcopal Commission for Liturgy and Social Communications (Vice President: Social Communications)
1984 He accompanied Pope John Paul II in his visit to Canada as a substitute for Vice President of the Conference and in 1987, during his visit to Fort Simpson, as Vice President this time.
1986-1991 member of the Executive Office
1987-1989 Vice President of the Conference
1989-1991 President of the Conference
1991-1995 member of the Episcopal Commission for Theology
1996 member of the Liturgical Celebrations Committee
1995-1997 member of the Episcopal Commission for Social Communications (French sector)
1997-1999 President of the Episcopal Commission for Social Communications (French sector)
COMMITTEES OF THE ASSEMBLY OF QUEBEC CATHOLIC BISHOPS (AECQ)
1980-1984: member of the Communications Committee
1993-1996: member of the Ministries Committee
1996-2001: Chairman of the Theology Committee
In 1980, he partook in a pastoral visit in several Latin American countries with Bishop Bernard Hubert and Bishop Charles Valois. He would repeat this same experience in 1992, this time in Africa.
Having exercised episcopal ministry where he tried to focus on the presence and teaching, various actions marked his career:
· Publication in the regions newletters and the Review Notre-Dame-du-Cap
· Collaboration in various pastoral and theological publications
· Publication of the following volumes:
L’utile, l’inutile et le nécessaire, Novalis, 1980
Une idée de Dieu, Bellarmin, 1994
Réflexions en pointes folles, Anne Sigier, 2001
Mon Église que j’aime, Anne Sigier, 2004
Ave Verum, Vérité et beauté de l’Eucharistie, Médiaspaul, 2007
Saint Jérôme. La Parole écrite. La Parole incarnée. Un seul et même amour, Pro manuscripto 2009
· Marie, Mère de Dieu et notre Mère, Médiaspaul, 2012
· Translation of Sainte Agnès de Prague, Franciscan Source, Cerf, Paris, 2013
· Writing of Carnets de Carême et du temps pascal, de Novalis
o Dans un monde en recherche… une Parole d’alliance, 2003
o Ressuscité et présent pour notre salut, 2004
o Tu aimes le monde et nous marchons avec toi, 2009
According to Canon Law, having reached the age of 75, he submitted his resignation to the Holy Father and on June 29, 2000 , he became Eminent Bishop of the Diocese of Valleyfield. He continued to maintain his presence as a collaborator in parishes and various movements (WYD, ACLÉ, etc.), as the spiritual leader of the Life group and animator for the hosting of training sessions (Who is God? Current legal matters, Catechesis on the baptismal symbols...). He continued to exercise his talents in writing, sculpture, and caricature, while maintaining his presence at events.
During his retirement, Bishop Robert Lebel published articles on various occasions, and are shared on the diocesan website.
On June 18, 2010, Bishop Robert Lebel received the prize of the 2010 Communications and Society Tribute, on his 60th anniversary of ordination, in recognition of his distinguished literary work.
In 2014, he entered the digital age by offering tweets on Twitter.
In addition to Bishop Noël Simard, Bishop Robert Lebel is survived by his diocesan families of Rimouski, Saint-Jean-Longueuil and Valleyfield, his sisters, Mrs. Cécile Lebel-Rioux, Mrs. Lucienne Lebel-Lagacé, Sister Annette Lebel, SRC, Mrs. Denise Lebel-Morency, his brother Dr. Marcel Lebel, his nephews, nieces, and members of the families of Lebel, Bélanger, Lagacé and Pettigrew.
The remains of Bishop Lebel will be exposed at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Cecilia in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, on Tuesday, June 2, 2015, from 2:00 pm to 9:00 pm, and on Wednesday, June 3 from 10:30 am onwards. The Funeral Mass, presided by Bishop Noël Simard, will take place at 2:00 pm at the same location. The Burial will follow in the Valleyfield cemetery where he will rest in the grounds reserved for bishops.
A celebration of the Word will be held on Tuesday, June 2 at 7:30 pm, hosted by St. Clement Parish of Beauharnois.
In esteem and appreciation, those who wish may donate to the Bishop Lebel Fund , at 11 rue de l’Église, Salaberry-de-Valleyfield , QC, J6T 1J5. This fund was held close to his heart to support the youth ministry of the diocese.
2015 Pentecost message for Canadian Catholic movements and associations
Dear Members of Movements and Associations,
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in their own language. Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own language...them speaking about God's deeds of power." (Acts 2.5-1).
In this wonderful passage from our Liturgy celebrating Pentecost Sunday, we witness one of the great works of the Holy Spirit: the power to create unity from diversity. Diversity, when inspired by God, is a manifestation of the many gifts, talents, ways of life and charisms that God chooses to use to fulfill his plans and promises. Unity, when inspired by God, is a manifestation of how the many gifts, talents, ways of life and charisms can work together towards a single goal and mission. In the Church in Canada, this work of the Holy Spirit is ongoing as the diversity of our many Movements and Associations, are, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, working together to bring about the Reign of God.
During the 2014 CCCB Forum for Catholic Movements and Associations, held at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Quebec, many of us spoke about how good it was to come together and discover our diversity – to witness the variety of ways people are living lives of service to strengthen our Church and communities. But, more importantly, we spoke about discovering more effective ways of working together – to discover the complementarity of our Movements and Associations. Our celebration of Pentecost reminds us that this is primarily the work of the Holy Spirit, and our place is to listen carefully and follow faithfully.
Perhaps we should look to the example of Consecrated Life in Canada. Our history is rich with examples of women and men, having chosen to follow Christ by following the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience, and, by doing so, contributing to our country's many educational, social, and spiritual needs. No two religious communities or consecrated persons contribute in the same way, and as a result, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, a diversity of needs is met. We thank God for these women and men in Consecrated Life and for their example.
May the many gifts of the Holy Spirit continue to enliven the charism of all Movements and Associations, and may the Holy Spirit inspire unity in our diversity.
Standing Committee for Relations with Movements and Associations Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
(CCCB – Ottawa)... His Holiness Pope Francis today named the Most Reverend Denis Grondin Archbishop of Rimouski. At the time of his appointment, Bishop Grondin was Auxiliary Bishop of Québec. He succeeds the Most Reverend Pierre-André Fournier who died in office January 10, 2015, at the age of 71. At the time of his death, Archbishop Fournier was also President of the Assembly of Québec Catholic Bishops. Since then, the Reverend Benoît Hins, the former Vicar General, has been Diocesan Administrator of Rimouski, while the Most Reverend Paul Lortie, Bishop of Mont-Laurier, was elected President of the Assembly of Québec Catholic Bishops.
JOINT CCCB-CCODP CAMPAIGN FOR EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS IN NEPAL
The Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, has announced a joint emergency campaign with the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) to raise funds for the victims of the earthquake in Nepal. In addition, the Government of Canada has announced it will match any contributions to assist Nepal which are collected by May 25, 2015.
Catholic Bishops across Canada are already encouraging parishes and other groups to organize special collections, with the funds collected to be received by Development and Peace before May 25. Donations sent to CCODP should be marked "Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund". Development and Peace is working in collaboration with the other Caritas members in the region, including Caritas Nepal, Caritas India, and the Catholic Relief Services office in India.
The world’s most vulnerable people honored by the awarding of the Templeton Prize 2015 to Jean Vanier
March 11, 2015 - The Templeton Foundation has just announced from London that has awarded the 2015 Templeton Prize to Jean Vanier, for his innovative discovery of the central role of vulnerable people in the creation of a more just, inclusive and humane society. The Templeton Prize, which has previously been awarded to Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama and others, is one of the most prestigious honors in the world, and is valued at close to 1.7 million USD.
According to Jean Vanier, this prize honors primarily the most vulnerable among us, often marginalized in our societies, and to whom he attributes his discovery. It is these people who revealed to him that any person who has been previously rejected, when welcomed, becomes a source of dialogue, of healing, of unity and of peace for our societies and our religions.
This understanding, of universal import, came to Jean Vanier in a unique way through his relationships with people with intellectual disabilities, with whom he has shared his life for more than 50 years in the communities of L’Arche.
Jean Vanier is the founder of L’Arche, a Federation of 147 communities in 35 countries and on 5 continents. In these communities people with intellectual disabilities and those who accompany them share together, a daily life rich in mutual relationships, offering an innovative way of living. With Marie Helene Mathieu, Vanier also cofounded Faith and Light, an extraordinary network of communities of friendship, mutual sharing and support for people with intellectual disabilities and their entourage. Today there are 1500 such communities in 82 countries.
Jean Vanier, humanist, philosopher, theologian and author, has written more than 30 books which have been translated into 29 languages, has given thousands of talks around the world, and has received many honours and awards for his life work.
by Bishop Simard on the occasion of the meal gathering priests, deacons, pastoral agents and volunteers of the diocese of Valleyfield, January 13, 2015
On the occasion of this fraternal gathering, let us pray first for the victims of the outrageous and horrible acts of terrorism in Paris and in the World, especially in Nigeria; let us pray also for Archbishop Pierre-André Fournier and the diocese of Rimouski in this time of loss and grief.
Thanks to all for your commitment of faith and charity in the Church, in your parish and in the society! Thanks for taking care of our Christian communities and our human brothers and sisters, especially those who are in need (of material goods, of listening, of love, of happiness.
When we looked at year 2014, we may be sorry for the conflicts, the internal problems and the painful attitudes; but we may be also happy with the beautiful projects and successful events. Let us ask ourselves if our pastoral commitment was unified and based on our union with God. If our ministry or pastoral work is reduced to a business, and not realized as a mission or a vocation, it is better to resign.
We are facing many challenges as the closing or the restructuring of parishes, the shortage of priests and committed lay persons, the financing of our pastoral work and buildings. But the main challenge is to give a missionary impetus or élan to our parishes and Church. As Pope Francis reminds us, we need not only a new evangelization but rediscovering the missionary dynamism of the Church. This means simplicity of life, prayer, discernment and trust in the Spirit’s action. It means also partnership, synodal attitude, true commitment of lay persons and reaching out (aller vers les périphéries) in solidarity, communion and dialogue.
MY WISHES :
I wish for all health, peace, love, joy and happiness.
I wish our Church, our parishes, our movements to be more missionary; I wish our Catholics to be more missionary-disciples.
I wish our lives and our pastoral work to be founded on a deep union with God; I wish that we will be more rooted in the Word of God and more open to the winds of the Spirit.
I hope that we will work with family and new evangelization as constant background. I wish we will be more attentive to the person and not only to the norms and rules. And finally I wish on us the benevolence of God which calls us to be benevolent for each other. This means good intention and heartfelt words and deeds. Through the intercession of Mary, our mother, of saints Jean XXIII, Jean Paul II, Marie de l’Incarnation and François de Laval, may the Lord bless you all and fill your hearts with his joy, his peace and his love!
Dear Lord, at the beginning of this New Year,I remember that you are a God of beginnings and endings.You created the world, with all its eternal patterns.Winter begins in frost, and ends in Spring's thaw.Spring begins in new, green life, ending in Summer's heat.Summer begins in sunshine, and ends in Autumn's, breezes.And Autumn's color leads to the white of Winter again.
As another year ends and begins in our lives,help us to remember that you have made a world of cycles.When fortune turns to trials, or hardship turns to joy,help me take delight in the life I've received from you.
Remind me that I will one day pass from this world and enter a new lifelike those who've gone before me.
Source: St. Regis Mission Church
MESSAGE OF POPE FRANCIS FOR WORLD MISSION DAY 2014
Whoever eats this bread will live forever. (John 6:51)
GOOD FRIDAY COLLECTION 2014
This year, the Papal Collection for the Holy Places will be held on Good Friday, April 18, 2014. This event transforms the sources of our faith in a living act of solidarity and hope. In the Holy Land we can open ourselves to God’s presence as it was given to us in Jesus Christ.
To experience the Holy Land is to accept to eat the bread that Jesus offers us; to agree to look through his eyes and see his love in abundance; to accept to take the body of Jesus in our arms in order to share the bread of LIFE. Jesus is the true food for the whole person. “I am the living bread… Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” (John 6:51)
To experience the Holy Land is to connect with the person of Jesus in a special way; it strengthens our spiritual and human bonding with him and with all his present disciples as well as those who preceded us. By sharing in the upkeep of the Holy Land and the mission of the Custody, on the occasion of the Papal Collection, as a Church, we confirm our belief that Jesus is the bread of life and we affirm the importance of Jesus and his Church in our lives.
By giving to the Holy Land, we strengthen our bond of friendship with our fellow Christians who live in the land of Jesus. We support the Christians who live there, eat there and who are struggling and live in hope. Our donation is a step forward towards the awareness of others and an invitation to change our relationship with the Living.
CATHOLIC WOMEN’S LEAGUE CHATEAUGUAY – CONGRATULATIONS...
to the members of the Catholic Women’s League of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Chateauguay on the occasion of their 50th Anniversary. The C.W.L. was founded on February 10, 1964. We congratulate them and pray for them, may they be blessed with courage and strength as they continue to serve for God and Canada.
YES to palliative care available to all, but NO to euthanasia under the name ''medical aid in dying''
The Members of our National Assembly will soon be called upon to vote on Bill 52. This proposed law, were it to be adopted, would legalize euthanasia under the name "medical aid in dying." In Québec, the act of causing death would be considered a form of "care" that could be offered and "administered" to the terminally ill.
This bill must not pass. To cause death to a sick person is not to care for him. A lethal injection is not a treatment. Euthanasia is not a form of care.
We already have the right to refuse overtreatment. We already have the right not to have our lives artiﬁcially prolonged by being plugged in to all sorts of equipment. These are givens: we do not need a new law to guarantee them. What Bill 52 is all about is allowing physicians directly to cause death. This goes against the most basic human values and contradicts the very purpose of medicine. Bringing about a patient's death is
not a medical act.
What we need in Québec is genuine aid to the dying, and not a law that redeﬁnes
euthanasia as "medical aid."
Genuine aid to the dying means helping someone who has come to the end of her life to
live this ﬁnal step with humanity and dignity. It means offering every possible support,
using the best means available to assuage her suffering, surrounding her with affection
and tenderness and helping her to say her goodbyes, to ﬁnd reconciliation, to take stock
of her life and to achieve the necessary detachment. It also means - if she so desires - to
present her with the love, mercy and forgiveness of God, and to offer the spiritual
comfort of faith and of hope in eternal life.
The Executive Committee of the Assembly of Québec Catholic Bishops,
for the Assembly:
Mgr Pierre-André Fournier, archbishop of Rimouski, president
Mgr André Rivest, bishop of Chicoutimi, vice-president
Mgr Louis Dicaire, auxiliary bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil
M. le cardinal Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, archbishop of Québec
Mgr Christian Lépine, archbishop of Montréal
Mgr Gilles Lussier, bishop of Joliette
Mgr Dorylas Moreau, bishop of Rouyn-Noranda
Mgr Yvon-Joseph Moreau, bishop of Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière
January 23, 2014
Source: Germain Tremblay, Service des communications, 514 274 4323, poste 227
In the same order, read the letter written for members & friends of Living with Dignity and the Physicians'Alliance against Euthanasia:
The vote in the National Assembly on Bill 52, that would permit euthanasia, will take place on 11 February 2014, or shortly afterwards. The committee finished the “point by point” study on Thursday. The government blocked all attempts to define the “end of life”, showing clearly their intentions: euthanasia is to be allowed at the end of life, which is not defined, opening the door to euthanasia on demand.
We must stop this Bill from being adopted.
Congratulations to the many of you who have already spoken to your Member of the National Assembly (MNA) about this issue. If you have not yet done so, please act now.
If you would prefer to meet your MNA together with other citizens, please answer this e-mail and we will put you in touch with interested people living in your riding. In order to form the groups we need the following information:
First and last name
Are you a doctor? If not, what is your profession?
Insist on meeting your MNA soon: before February 11th. If you don’t get an answer to your e-mail, try the phone. Don’t take “no” for an answer.
If you are really not able to meet with your MNA you can send a letter (which is more effective than e-mail) or place a phone call.
Tell your MNA clearly: he/she must vote against this Bill.
Invite your MNA to consider the grave responsibility weighing on his/her shoulders with this vote. If the bill is adopted, Quebec will become a place where the lives of elderly persons and those with a disability or a chronic or terminal illness are no longer protected by the law. Vulnerable people will be euthanized. Such deaths are tragic and are already occurring in countries where euthanasia is legal, caused by medical errors or by pressure on the patient to request death. Those who vote in favour of Bill 52 will be responsible for these deaths, and for a radical change in our society. This vote cannot be decided based on partisan or political considerations. It is a question of choosing what kind of society we wish to live in.
You will find attached to this email the original text of the bill, the amendments made, and some other material that could inspire you. See also:
Short letters are much more likely to be published: less than 250 words.
Let’s work together to stop this terrible law!
Director General Living with Dignity
Marc Beauchamp MD President Living with Dignity
Catherine Ferrier MD President Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia
Statement by CCCB President on the designation by the Holy Father of Archbishop Gérald Cyprien Lacroix as a member of the College of Cardinals
As President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, it is a great joy for me, on behalf of all the Bishops of Canada, to extend our heartfelt congratulations to the Most Reverend Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of the Church in Canada, for his having been designated by our Holy Father as a Cardinal of the Church of Rome. This appointment by Pope Francis is a great honour for all the Church in our country, as well as indicating the importance of the See of Québec and the important role it played in evangelizing the New World. What an honour this is for the people of Quebec and those of the entire country, as we celebrate the 350th anniversary of the erection of the first parish in North America outside Spanish-speaking territories.
Cardinal-designate Lacroix has already provided extraordinary leadership in the Church in Quebec for his joyful proclamation of the Good News. As Primate, he is recognized throughout the country as an extraordinary leader who is an enthusiastic preacher, with an unmistakable missionary zeal that is accented by his complete dedication to the new evangelization. He is known as a man of sincerity and humility who possesses a welcoming spirit. Most of all, he brings the person of our Lord Jesus Christ to everyone, regardless of their age, sex, culture, faith or personal circumstances. We share this joy with all the members of the "Institut Seculier Pie X", a Society of Apostolic Life to which he belonged prior to being appointed a Bishop. His joyful character knows no bounds, and is, at all times, completely contagious.
As an ex officio member of the Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Lacroix has always contributed to its meetings much wisdom, deeply rooted in his love of the Gospel. These same qualities will help him greatly as he advises the Holy Father, which is one of the key responsibilities of every Cardinal.
+ Paul-André Durocher Archbishop of Gatineau and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
Last Updated on Monday, January 13 2014
Appointment of Apostolic Nuncio to Canada
His Holiness Pope Francis today, December 18, 2013, appointed the Most Reverend Luigi Bonazzi Apostolic Nuncio to Canada. At the time of his appointment, Archbishop Bonazzi was Apostolic Nuncio to Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. The previous Apostolic Nuncio, the Most Reverend Pedro López Quintana, ended his mission in Canada at the end of September 2013 in order to receive a new assignment from the Holy Father. Read more
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The Catholic Organizaation for LIfe and Family reacts to the Quebec bill on end of life care