The Second International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking is being celebrated today, February 8, 2016. Encouraged by Pope Francis, this Day of Prayer and Awareness is an initiative by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and the International Union of Superiors General. It is celebrated on the feast day of Saint Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947), a former Sudanese slave who eventually was freed and became a nun.
Link to resources from the Canadian Religious Conference on human trafficking
Link to an outline of Saint Josephine Bakhita's life and spirituality
Link to related resources from the Holy See
His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, and Deacon Larry Worthen intervened on February 3, 2016, before the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying. Cardinal Collins and Deacon Worthen spoke on behalf of the Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience. This comprises the Archdiocese of Toronto, the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada (CMDSC, of which Mr. Worthen is Executive Director), the Catholic Organization for Life and Family, the Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians' Societies, the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute, and Canadian Physicians for Life. The text has been also published by The Catholic Register.
The episcopal ordination of the Most Reverend Héctor Felipe Vila as Bishop of the Diocese of Whitehorse will take place on Sunday, February 7, 2016, at 10:00 a.m., at the Vanier Catholic Secondary School in Whitehorse. His Eminence Gérald Cyprien Cardinal Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of Canada, will preside. The Apostolic Nuncio, the Most Reverend Luigi Bonazzi, will be present. At the time of his appointment, Bishop Vila was Rector of Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Toronto. Bishop-elect Vila succeeds the Most Reverend Gary Gordon who was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Victoria on June 14, 2014. Bishop Gordon had served as Apostolic Administrator of Whitehorse until he was installed as Bishop of Victoria on August 28, 2014. Since then, the Reverend Kieran Kilcommons, M.H.A., has been Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Whitehorse.
Link to the Diocesan website
The episcopal ordination of the Most Reverend Steven J. Lopes as the first Bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter took place on February 2, 2016, at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Houston, USA. At the time of his appointment on November 24, 2015, Bishop Lopes served as an official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Though its headquarters is based out of Texas, the Ordinariate includes communities in Canada as well. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI established the Ordinariate on January 1, 2012, to welcome former Anglican faithful and clergy in the United States who have entered into full communion with the Catholic Church in accordance with the norms of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. The same year, in December, after consulting the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Holy See extended the Ordinariate to include Canada.
Link to the Ordinariate website
On the World Day for Consecrated Life, February 2, 2016, Pope Francis closed the Year of Consecrated Life, while presiding at the concluding Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica on February 2, 2016. In his homily, he recalled that every form of consecrated life, "each according to its characteristics," is "called to be in a permanent state of mission, sharing 'The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the people of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted'" (Pastoral Constitution of the Second Vatican Council on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, 1).
The 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) concluded in Cebu, Philippines, on January 31, 2016. Pope Francis addressed the participants through a video message presented at the closing Mass. In his message, the Holy Father announced that the next Congress will be in 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. His Eminence Gérald Cyprien Cardinal Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of the Church in Canada, and the Most Reverend J. Michael Miller, C.S.B., Archbishop of Vancouver, participated in the 2016 Congress, together with a number of other Canadians. Archbishop Miller was the official delegate for the English Sector of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). The Most Reverend Luc Cyr, Archbishop of Sherbrooke and CCCB Co-Treasurer, was to be the delegate from the CCCB French Sector but unfortunately had to cancel his travel plans at the last minute. In an interview with Vatican Radio, Cardinal Lacroix praised the Cebu Congress for its enthusiastic expression of faith and its impact on the poor, on catechists and on parishes. The theme of the 2016 International Eucharistic Congress was "Christ in You, Our Hope of Glory".
Link to the message of Pope Francis
Link to the interview of Cardinal Lacroix (in French only)
(CCCB – Ottawa)... His Holiness Pope Francis accepted today the resignation of the Most Reverend Vincent Cadieux, O.M.I., as Bishop of the Diocese of Moosonee and of the Diocese of Hearst which had been united "in persona episcopi" with the Diocese of Moosonee (that is, in the person of Bishop Cadieux). To succeed Bishop Cadieux, the Holy Father appointed Father Robert Bourgon Bishop of the Diocese of Hearst and Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Moosonee. At the time of his appointment, Bishop-elect Bourgon was Vicar General of the Diocese of Sault Ste-Marie.
The Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), has written to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, and the Minister of Health, the Honourable Jane Philpott, requesting that the Conference be invited to appear before the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying. In his submission, Bishop Crosby states "that life is a sacred gift to be defended and protected. Our country, for its part, has made great strides over the decades in constructing 'safety nets' that help safeguard human lives from the worst onslaughts of poverty, in wisely agreeing to forego the use of capital punishment, and in challenging and questioning every call to war. These efforts, which we applaud, are in recognition of the paramount importance of respecting and sustaining the life and inviolable dignity of individuals from conception to natural death."
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) continues to post possible homily ideas and prayers of the faithful to help link the Sunday liturgy with the national pastoral initiative for life and family. The proposed texts for the month of February 2016 include suggestions from the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, February 7, to the Third Sunday of Lent, February 28, including suggestions for Ash Wednesday, February 10. As usual, the suggestions for homilies and prayers can be easily adapted for family prayer, as well as for personal prayer or for use with other groups or organizations. The texts for the month of February are available on the special Life and Family webpage, under the section "Documents and activities proposed by the CCCB".
Subsequent to the death of the late Archbishop Daniel J. Bohan, the College of Consultors of the Archdiocese of Regina, as required by Canon 421 §1, on January 15, 2016, elected Very Reverend Lorne Dale Crozon, then Vicar General, as Diocesan Administrator of Regina.
As part of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, the theme of the Message of Pope Francis for Lent 2016 is "I desire mercy, and not sacrifice" (Mt 9:13) - The works of mercy on the road of the Jubilee". In his Message, the Holy Father states that "the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year is a favourable time to overcome our existential alienation by listening to God's word and by practising the works of mercy. In the corporal works of mercy we touch the flesh of Christ in our brothers and sisters who need to be fed, clothed, sheltered, visited; in the spiritual works of mercy – counsel, instruction, forgiveness, admonishment and prayer – we touch more directly our own sinfulness. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy must never be separated."
Link to the Message
The Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), has written to the Most Reverend Murray Chatlain, Archbishop of Keewatin-Le Pas. In his letter, Bishop Crosby conveys the condolences and prayers of the Bishops and faithful of Canada following the recent violence in La Loche, Saskatchewan.
Link to the letter of Bishop Crosby (PDF)
Link to the interview by Archbishop Chatlain with The Canadian Press