Dear friends,

Each year at this time, the Bishops of Canada ask for your support and prayers in order to carry out some of the most vital and important activities in the life of our Church. Your participation in the Collection for the Needs of the Church in Canada ensures that the voice of the Bishops is heard nationally on such issues as concern for justice and peace, marriage, racism, family, environment, and human life.

Such is the work carried out by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). Established 61 years ago, it is the national association that brings together 134 bishops in Canada, including about 50 retired bishops. They work in 71 dioceses, and include bishops from the Latin Church as well as from the following Eastern Churches in Canada: Ukrainian, Syro-Malabar, Syrian, Slovak, Maronite, Greek-Melkite and Armenian. 

While each diocese and eparchy is autonomous, the bishops collaborate collegially through the CCCB to give a national voice to their work, and where opportune to develop national projects. Some of these areas of cooperation are Christian education, the development of liturgical texts, ecumenical dialogue, interfaith discussions, and questions of social justice, both nationally and internationally, including involvement with organizations such as the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP). The Bishops of Canada also maintain national links with other Catholic movements and associations, such as the Canadian Religious Conference, the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Women’s League of Canada, the Catholic Health Association of Canada, and Catholic Organization for Life and Family.

Your contribution to the Collection for the Needs of the Church in Canada is of tremendous importance to the Bishops. It also provides you an opportunity to participate in the work of the Bishops in helping to bring the Good News to a world in need of Christ’s message of hope and love. Over the past year, the Bishops of Canada have spoken out on the war in Iraq, conflicts in the Middle East, and the humanitarian crisis in the Sudan. They have pressed for the elimination of nuclear weapons; called for the protection of the environment; presented submissions to the Supreme Court of Canada and Parliament in defence of marriage; spoken out on the responsibility and discernment of Catholics in elections, and called for the elimination of racism and religious discrimination.

As President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and in the name of the brother Bishops of our country, I thank you for participating in the 2004 Collection for the Needs of the Church in Canada. The Bishops of Canada count on your continued prayers and generous support.

Yours in Christ,

+ Brendan M. O’Brien
Archbishop of St. John’s
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops