Message from the President of the CCCB for the 2007 Collection for the Needs of the Church in Canada

My dear friends,

The time has passed when people thought the world was limited to their own little space and immediate surroundings, and when the local parish was somehow thought to be the whole Church. In this age of globalization, the Internet and instant news, the world is now a global village. Whether it is floods in Indonesia, refugees fleeing rebel troops in Darfur, innocent victims of a terrorist attack in Afghanistan, or an affront to human rights in any part of the world, we no longer can plead ignorance or remain indifferent. Never in human history have the terms “joint action,” “mutual support” and “solidarity” been so important as today.

Obviously, the Bishops of Canada must respond to innumerable pastoral challenges within their dioceses, but they cannot avert their eyes and attention from all that is going on beyond their diocesan churches. Founded over 60 years ago, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) assists the Bishops in taking a common stand on national and international issues. There are many that need addressing, including Christian education, ethics, interfaith relations, social justice and world peace. Fortified by the experiences and reflections of one another, the Bishops of Canada endeavour to exercise their pastoral ministry as effectively as possible for the well-being of the whole Church and all society.

This brochure provides a good indication of CCCB activities over the past year. You will be struck by the diversity and complexity of the questions that engage the Conference. As I come to the end of my term as President of our Episcopal Conference, I appreciate more than ever the important role that the Conference has in the life of the Church nationally and internationally. These range from interventions on the moral and ethical aspects of the decisions taken by our political leaders to the serious problems facing Christians in the Holy Land and all the Middle East. They include questions that arise from our interactions with other world religions, and so the Conference has now increased its efforts in interfaith relations. One example, for the first time in its history the Bishops of Canada will welcome an imam on the occasion of their Plenary Assembly in October 2007.

Our Conference depends on material and human resources to carry out its responsibilities. Each diocese is thus required to make an annual financial contribution based on the number of its Catholics. The goal of the Bishops’ Collection for the Needs of the Church in Canada, held each year the last Sunday of September, is to help dioceses fulfill their financial obligation to the CCCB. The faithful are invited to demonstrate their solidarity with and support for their own Bishop as well as for all the Catholic Bishops of Canada. On behalf of my brother Bishops, I thank you for contributing to our 2007 Collection. With your generous support, the CCCB will continue its activities and mission.

Fraternally in Our Lord,

+ André Gaumond
Archbishop of Sherbrooke
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops