MESSAGE FROM BISHOP NOËL SIMARD FOR LENT 2017
ENTER LENT SO THAT YOU END IT REVIVED!
According to Pope Francis, the Church must «step out», that is we must leave our walls to meet those who are on the periphery…
March first is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, a time of conversion and renewal. Is this not a time of privilege «to return to God with all our hearts, to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord… To deepen our spiritual life through the means of sanctification offered us by the Church: fasting, prayer and almsgiving»? (Pope Francis, Message for Lent 2017).
Is it not a favorable time to step out? First of all, stepping out of oneself, stepping out of our bad habits, of our selfish locked-in attitude, of our unbridled search for money and profit, which leads to vanity and pride. Stepping out of oneself to go towards the other, who is a gift to welcome and recognize. In his message for Lent 2017, Pope Francis comments on the parable of Lazarus and the rich man (Lk 16:19-31). As he writes so well, «The parable first invites us to open the doors of our heart to others because each person is a gift, whether it be our neighbour or an anonymous pauper».
Yes, during this Lent, let us redouble our efforts to go towards the other, and to open our heart; step out of our comfort zone, of our protected spaces, of our indifference, of our blindness that prevents us from seeing the other; let us overcome the fear of inconveniencing ourselves that we might reach out and sustain those who are in need and to serve Christ through them.
However to step out of ourselves and to go to the other, we must «step out in God», that is, we must let God transform us and bring us from death to life.
Step out then, of our frantic race to stop and draw from the source of life and light that our Lord offers us in prayer and the sacraments. Step out and join the Christian community, which gathers each Sunday to be nourished by the Word and the Eucharist.
Step out of our dependence on television and the light reading that distracts us, but so often distracts us from the essential… Step out of these distractions to listen to the Word of the Lord, a living force capable of kindling a conversion in our heart and renewing our charity. Pope Francis says it so pertinently: «When we close our heart to the gift of God’s word, we end up closing our heart to the gift of our brothers and sisters.».
Let us profit by this Lent to step out by consecrating some time to prayer and participation in our Sunday celebrations, in welcoming the other through our sharing with those less fortunate and by our generous support of our Lenten Campaigns, as we let ourselves be converted by our Lord.
Enter Lent so that you may arrive at Easter resurrected!
† Noël Simard Bishop of Valleyfield
CHRISTMAS 2015 - BISHOP NOEL SIMARD
MESSAGE OF BISHOP NOËL SIMARD FOR CHRISTMAS 2015 AND 2016 NEW YEAR
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
What will be celebrate on Christmas? What will 2016 New Year look like?
The year 2015 is almost over and carried with it many tragedies, conflicts and miseries, but also many gestures of solidarity, sharing and support. One of the goals of the Jubilee Year of Mercy called by Pope Francis is to bring a message of compassion and mercy to the world. On Christmas, let us celebrate Jesus our Savior who became one of us to reveal to us the love, the compassion and the mercy of the Father. May the light and the Kindness of the Infant Jesus touch and transform each of our hearts, of our lives and of our families!
May the Mercy of God fulfill our lives throughout the Year 2016 in order to be apostles of the Mercy of God for our human brothers and sisters, for the poor, the sick ones, the refugees and all those who are abandoned in the margins of the society! During this Jubilee Year may we cross the Door of Mercy which is in our Cathedral Ste-Cecile. It will be an expression of our journey of compassion and conversion.
Together, let us make of our families and Christian Communities havens of love and peace, oasis of mercy and unity!
A Merry Christmas and a Happy and Holy New Year!
+ Bishop Noël
BISHOP SIMARD SPEAKING ABOUT THE ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION CAMPAIGN
Message from Bishop Noël Simard
SUMMARY of the presentation
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!
FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN 2014-2015
We have just launched our financial campaign Friends of the Bishop. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support and your generous contribution last year.
Our diocesan Church has some great financial and pastoral challenges to overcome and our resources, human as well as financial, are seriously diminishing.
More than ever we are in need of your help, whether it be monetary or with the gift of your time. Our diocesan Church is waiting for a gesture on your part on the occasion of this Campaign. Let your heart speak!
Thank you and may God bless you!
Your Bishop who is counting on you,† Noël Simard Bishop of Valleyfield
[Click on picture for details]
P.S. A charitable tax receipt for 2014 will be issued for all donations of 25$ or more done before December 31.
EUTHANASIA IS AT OUR DOORS IN QUÉBEC…
Bishop Noël Simard insists that we act quickly ... [Please, read the document]
Bishop's Easter Message
Alleluia He is Alive. He is Risen. I have the joy of announcing to you this message which is at the heart of the Easter feast. And I would love that this joy, this message of hope, reach every family, every home, especially wherever there is more suffering; in the hospitals and in the prisons. I would love this Good news to reach every heart, especially those battered by the loss of their loved ones, by violence, by misunderstanding and by misery. Beyond the chocolates and the eggs, Easter is first and foremost the feast of the risen Christ, the feast of Life, the feast of Love that triumphs over hatred and death. In 2014, let us receive this Life in us. Let us allow this LOVE, this vital force of the risen Christ, to do something new in us. Let us be transformed in order to deal away with our desert of indifference and egoism. Let Easter be the occasion to allow this LIFE to shine out, by committing to do something extra, by, as Pope Francis says “taking care of the other, with love, especially children, the aged, the weak, and those who are often at the margin of our attention”. May Easter, spring of God, be also for us, the occasion to take care and to be keepers of all creatures and the environment in which we live. May our faith in the risen Christ be contagious, and may it propagate the beautiful scent of the resurrection, the scent of the spring of God.
To all, wishing you a joyous Easter, Love, Peace and Life of the Risen. (translated from French version)Bishop Noel Simard Bishop of Valleyfield