To mark the National Week for Life and the Family, 14 to 21 May 2017, the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) has released its annual message on the theme "Love Grows by Giving". In its Message, COLF issues an invitation "to reflect with Pope Francis on the wonderful role which God has entrusted to the family in transmitting true love. Let us ask ourselves how we can better reflect God's unconditional love and mercy, whether in the context of our own day to day family life or to family members or friends 'at the periphery'." The Week for Life and the Family is a CCCB initiative that Canadian dioceses and eparchies are invited to promote or adapt according to their own resources and pastoral priorities. Resources have been prepared by COLF in collaboration and consultation with the CCCB.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has prepared prayer cards in honour of three recently declared Canadian patron Saints: Saint André Bessette (commonly referred to as Saint Brother André), Saint François de Laval, and Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. At their 2016 Plenary Assembly, the Bishops of Canada unanimously approved the three devotional titles, recognizing there has been strong popular devotion to all three saints since their deaths and already long before they were declared Saints by the Universal Church. The Bishops also wished to underscore the continuing and contemporary significance of these Saints in the life of the Church in Canada.
The Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), has signed a joint interfaith letter released as an op-ed in The Hill Times, a weekly newspaper covering government and federal politics on Parliament Hill. The other signatories are: Mr. Bruce Clemenger, President, The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC); Mr. Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA); and Imam Sikander Hashmi, Canadian Council of Imams.
(CCCB – Ottawa)... On the memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Protectress of Canada, 17 April 2017, which is also Easter Monday, the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), has issued a message marking the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. On behalf of his brother Bishops, he offers best wishes and prayers "that God will continue to keep our home and native land glorious and free, and that Canadians, including the Indigenous Peoples whose lands we share, will continue to work toward a better country and a better world."
The Office national de liturgie of the French Sector of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has published the Spring 2017 edition of its electronic liturgical publication Vivre et célébrer. This is the second electronic issue since the magazine launched its new format in November 2016. The new issue focuses on liturgical formation and includes summaries of a number of the presentations at the annual conference of Societas Liturgica, an international society for liturgical study and renewal, which was held in Quebec City during 2015. Vivre et célébrer is a resource for reflection and formation in liturgical and sacramental life. Its target readership are those working in the area of liturgy as well as others simply wanting to deepen their faith through a better understanding of the liturgy. To obtain a subscription, requests should be sent by email to the Office national de liturgie
or by phoning (613) 241-9461, ext. 137. Subscriptions are free.
Link to the spring edition (in French only)
It has become increasingly clear in recent years that Canada is facing a serious substance abuse crisis. Although this problem has existed in various forms for some time, the recent deaths of so many Canadians due to overdoses – particularly through the use of new potent opioids like fentanyl and carfentanyl – is alarming. In British Columbia, for example, 914 deaths resulted from street drug overdoses in 2016, almost twice as many as in the previous year. The majority of these deaths are connected to fentanyl use. Opioid overdose deaths are also on the rise across the country, posing a serious problem for health authorities.
Pope Francis has invited French biblical scholar Anne-Marie Pelletier to compose the meditations which he will use during the Way of the Cross, 14 April 2017, at the Colosseum in Rome. In 2014 Professor Pelletier was awarded the Ratzinger Prize for her contributions to theology. While she is the fourth woman to write the texts, it is the first time the author is also a wife, mother and grandmother. Professor Pelletier's meditations on the Stations are a variation of the Scriptural Way of the Cross that Saint John Paul II authored, but begin as do the traditional Stations with Jesus being condemned to death. The 2017 meditations end with Jesus' body being placed in the tomb and the women preparing to return the next day to anoint it.
Link to the meditations
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.
The Most Reverend Daniel J. Miehm will be installed as Bishop of the Diocese of Peterborough at St. Peter-in-Chains Cathedral, Peterborough, on 19 April 2017 at 2:00 p.m. When appointed Bishop of Peterborough by the Holy Father on 10 March 2017, Bishop Miehm was then Auxiliary Bishop of Hamilton. The Most Reverend William Terrence McGrattan had been responsible for the Diocese of Peterborough since 2014 until his appointment as Bishop of the Diocese of Calgary on 4 January 2017. Since then, Bishop McGrattan has been the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Peterborough. Bishop Miehm's installation will be live-streamed on Salt + Light TV Website.
The Canadian Catholic television channel Salt + Light TV has arranged a special programming schedule for Holy Week and Easter, 9 to 16 April 2017, covering the celebrations by Pope Francis in Rome. The schedule also includes live broadcasting of the Chrism Mass from the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King in Hamilton on 10 April at 7:00 p.m. The celebration will be presided by the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). Beginning on 10 April, a link to Salt + Light's special programming for Holy Week will be accessible on the home page of the CCCB website.
Link to the special broadcasting schedule
During a news conference on 30 March 2017 by the Holy See, His Eminence Kevin Joseph Cardinal Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life, together with the Most Reverend Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, presented the letter Pope Francis addressed to the organizers of the upcoming World Meeting of Families that will take place 21 to 26 August 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. In his letter, the Holy Father states that "we know how much Christian families are a place of mercy and witnesses of mercy, and even more so after the extraordinary Jubilee. The Dublin meeting will be able to offer concrete signs of this."
Link to the story on Vatican Radio and to the full Message
The President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, His Eminence Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran, has released the Pontifical Council's annual message for the Jain feast of Mahavir Jayanti, celebrated this year on 9 April. The message is entitled "Christians and Jains: Together to foster practice of non-violence in families". The Jain feast commemorates the anniversary of the birth of Tirthankara Vardhaman Mahavir, whom Jains revere as the 24th and last reformer or Tirthankara of Jainism.
Link to the Message (PDF)