Two major events have greatly influenced the work and activities of the CCCB in recent months: the Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America and the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. Ecclesia in America, issued in January 1999, is the Holy Father's challenging response to the Special Synod of Bishops for America. The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, guided by the themes of forgiveness, reconciliation and the elimination of Third World debt, has sparked much interest and raised many questions for our society and world.
Inspired by Ecclesia in America and the spirit of the Great Jubilee, the three main episcopal organizations of America, from Canada, the United States and Latin America, held the first of a new series of meetings last February in Vancouver. In response to the many urgent calls by Pope John Paul II for a substantial elimination of world debt during this Jubilee year, the bishops paid special attention to the disturbing consequences of the debt on the people of Latin America. Despite some efforts to improve the current situation, the participating bishops expressed their desire to continue the dialogue and to act in concrete ways to reduce the debt of the world's poorest countries. They stressed the importance of continuing to make known the tragic consequences of indebtedness to the governments involved, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, economists, ethicists, bankers and other leaders in the economic community. The bishops also encouraged dioceses and parishes to continue making people aware of these problems and to develop ways of showing solidarity with those who suffer from poverty.
The CCCB has also continued to support many groups working for social justice, taken part in many ecumenical and inter-faith dialogues, and supported the work of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family, whose mission is to promote respect for human life and dignity and the essential role of the family.
In addition to its involvement with World Youth Days 2002 in Toronto,
the CCCB is also preparing for a cross-Canada tour of the relics of Saint
Therese of Lisieux in September 2001. In the following month, a delegation
of bishops from the CCCB will take part in a Synod of Bishops to be held
in Rome on the ministry of the bishop. Finally, in April 2002, the
CCCB along with the US episcopal conference will organize a major North
American Congress on Vocations to be held in Montreal.