His Eminence Fernando Cardinal Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, has appointed Father Yoland Ouellet, O.M.I., as the new National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies for French Canada, succeeding Father André Gagnon, S.J., who has completed his term as Director. The appointment is for a five-year term, renewable once, beginning January 8, 2016. At the time of his appointment, Father Ouellet had just completed his term as Rector of the National Marian Shrine Notre-Dame-du-Cap.
The Catholic Bishops of Alberta marked the 2016 World Day of the Sick, February 11, with a statement concerning proposals to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia, as well as a call for extensive consultation before the province of Alberta proceeds to allow the practice in its healthcare facilities. The following Bishops signed the statement: the Most Reverend Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton, the Most Reverend Gerard Pettipas, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Grouard-McLennan, the Most Reverend Frederic Henry, Bishop of Calgary, the Most Reverend Paul Terrio, Bishop of St. Paul, the Most Reverend David Motiuk, Ukrainian Eparchial Bishop of Edmonton, and the Most Reverend Gregory Bittman, Auxiliary Bishop of Edmonton.
Link to the statement (in English only)
This Ash Wednesday, February 10, 2016, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) launches its annual Share Lent campaign on the theme Create a Climate of Change. In its news release CCODP explains that: "The campaign draws on Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si', which calls for better care of our common home, especially for our sisters and brothers in the Global South who are already experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change, despite contributing the least to the carbon emissions that are causing temperatures to rise." The campaign, also inspired by the Jubilee Year of Mercy, is the main funding source for the organization's solidarity work with over 100 local organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, and for its educational programs here in Canada.
My brothers and sisters in Christ,
The readings of the liturgy for the opening days of Lent invite us to focus on some basic questions as we begin our journey through this sacred season. What does it mean to repent and believe the Good News? What difference should faith make to our living and dying? How do we convert hearts and lives? The Old Testament reading for the Thursday after Ash Wednesday has particular significance this year for us as God's people and as a country: I call heaven and earth to witness ... that I have set before you life and death .... Choose life, so that you and your descendants may live.... (Deuteronomy 30.19)
From February 12 to 18, 2016, the Canadian Catholic television channel Salt + Light TV will broadcast live the Apostolic Journey of Pope Francis to Mexico. His trip will start with a stop in Havana, Cuba, to meet with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. To know the full schedule of this Apostolic Journey, please visit the Holy See's Website.
Link to the Holy See's schedule of the Apostolic Journey
Link to Salt + Light TV
Link to the special website of the Bishops' Conference of Mexico
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.