(CCCB-Ottawa)…A delegation from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is currently in Rome, December 3 to 13, 2013, for the annual meetings with the offices of the Holy See. Normally, the Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau and CCCB President, would be leading the Canadian delegation, which also includes the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and CCCB Vice President, and Msgr. Patrick Powers, P.H., CCCB General Secretary. Unfortunately, because of a minor temporary health problem, Archbishop Durocher is not able to participate in this year’s visit. The Most Reverend Lionel Gendron, P.S.S., Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueil and CCCB Co-Treasurer, will instead be part of this year’s delegation, thus ensuring it includes representation from the French Sector of the Conference. During their visit, they will be received by Pope Francis in a private audience.
The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) had launched a new Website. The design has been completely changed, and the content includes a number of resources: COLF publications on life and family, workshop guides, reflections on urgent topics, testimonies, and even gift ideas. Visitors are also invited to become subscribers by filling out a form. This will give access to regular email updates on the most recent COLF initiatives and publications.
Link to the new website
As part of the national pastoral initiative for life and family, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) again is posting possible homily ideas and prayers of the faithful to help link the Sunday liturgy with the issues of life and family. The proposed texts for the last month of 2013 include suggestions from the first Sunday of Advent, December 1,to the Feast of the Holy Family, December 29, including suggestions for Christmas Day. The last Sunday of the year has special significance for all pastoral initiatives for life and family. The suggestions can be easily adapted for family prayer on Christmas Day and the New Year, as well as for personal prayer or for use with other groups or organizations throughout Advent and the Christmas season. The texts for the month of December are available on the special Life and Family webpage, under the section “Documents and activities proposed by the CCCB”.
Link to the suggestions for homilies and prayers (PDF)
Following the annual meeting of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) which was held in Rome this week, the Most Reverend Donald Bolen, Bishop of Saskatoon, was interviewed November 27, 2013, by Vatican Radio as the Co-Chair of the International Commission. The other Co-Chair is the Right Reverend David Hamid, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese in Europe.
Link to the interview
Pope Francis has issued his first Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, “The Joy of the Gospel”, on the proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world. The text is addressed to the Bishops, clergy, consecrated persons and lay faithful, and was presented today, November 26, 2013, during a news conference by the Press Office of the Holy See. The Holy Father already gave a copy of his Exhortation this past Sunday to 36 representatives of the Church during the Closing Mass for the Year of Faith. The main chapters of the Exhortation are on the following themes: the Church’s missionary transformation; the crisis of communal commitment; the proclamation of the Gospel; the social dimension of evangelization; and Spirit-filled evangelizers. Printed copies of the Exhortation will be on sale this coming January from CCCB Publications.
Link to the Apostolic Exhortation
Pope Francis presided at the Mass for the conclusion of the Year of Faith on the Solemnity of Christ the King, which was celebrated in Saint Peter’s Square, Rome, November 24, 2013. In his homily, the Holy Father expressed his affection and gratitude to Benedict XVI who had opened the Year of Faith in 2012. “By this providential initiative, he gave us an opportunity to rediscover the beauty of the journey of faith begun on the day of our Baptism, which made us children of God and brothers and sisters in the Church. A journey which has as its ultimate end our full encounter with God, and throughout which the Holy Spirit purifies us, lifts us up and sanctifies us, so that we may enter into the happiness for which our hearts long,” Pope Francis said.
Link to the Pope’s homily
The 28th International Conference of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care is taking place in Rome, November 21 to 23, 2013, on the theme “The Church at the Service of Sick Elderly People: Care for People with Neurodegenerative Pathologies”. It gathers researchers, physicians, Church staff and volunteers from 57 countries on the five continents who are at the service of the elderly. The participants will be received by Pope Francis in an audience on November 23. Given the current debates in Canada and other countries about euthanasia, this International Conference is an opportunity to reflect on the values of society and the Holy Father’s ongoing appeals to protect vulnerable people. During his daily Mass on November 19, he said that “a society which does not take care for and respect the elderly does not have a future because it doesn’t have memories.”
In celebration of the Year of Faith and also the Day for the Contemplative Life, Pope Francis is visiting the Camaldolese Monastery of Sant’Antonio Abate in Rome for Vespers and Eucharistic Adoration, on November 21, 2013. As the Year of Faith approaches its conclusion, the Holy Father’s visit recalls the important mission of those religious women and men who consecrate their lives to praying every day for the Church and the world. On November 21, 1953, the Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope Pius XII instituted Pro Orantibus Day which is dedicated to all cloistered communities.
Since Typhoon Haiyan devastated large areas of the Philippines, Canadian Catholic dioceses have been involved in efforts to help meet the desperate needs of its people. Even before the joint appeal from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP), dioceses were inviting their parishes for donations toward emergency aid and reconstruction. A number of Canadian Bishops have also presided at special Eucharistic celebrations for those who died in this disaster, and to express the solidarity of the Church in Canada with the people of the Philippines.
From 16 to 19 November, 2013, some 300 representatives from various countries, including more than 85 Cardinals and Bishops, 60 priests, as well as consecrated persons and laity from the American continent, have met in the square of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe to participate in a pilgrimage and meeting, “Our Lady of Guadalupe, Star of the New Evangelization in the American Continent”. In his video address broadcast to the meeting on 16 November, Pope Francis said missionary outreach is “the paradigm for all pastoral action”, adding that “It is vital for the Church not to close in on itself.”
The Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and Vice President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, has given an extensive interview to Father Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., for the Witness series on the Canadian Catholic television channel Salt + Light TV. The interview took place during the last CCCB Plenary Assembly after his election as CCCB Vice President and was aired last week on Salt + Light.
Link to the interview
The joint appeal by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) for Syria and Syrian refugees reached over $2 million in donations from Catholics as of this past November 3. The joint appeal was launched on June 30, 2013, and culminated with a day of prayer and fasting for the people of Syria and all the Middle East this past September 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. In addition, on October 17, 2013, Development and Peace further announced that “with support from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, CCODP will be providing $5.4 million in humanitarian aid to victims of the crisis in Syria.”
Link to the CCODP Website
The Canadian edition of La Bible, Traduction officielle liturgique, will be available by the end of this November. The new translation has been published in France by Fleurus-Mame, with a special soft cover version for Canada issued by CCCB Publications. The translation work took 17 years and involved 70 exegetes, biblical scholars and linguists, working in collaboration with the world’s French-language Episcopal Conferences, including the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). Father Henri Delhougne, O.S.B., a monk from Clervaux Abbey in Luxembourg, coordinated the international project. The Bible liturgique has been approved by the Bishops of all French-speaking countries, including Canada, and received the recognitio of the Holy See.