The 25th World Day of the Sick will be celebrated in 2017, as it is every year, on February 11, the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes. This year, the Holy Father's Message is entitled Amazement at what God has accomplished: "The Almighty has done great things for me..." (Luke 1.49). In his Message, Pope Francis offers prayerful support and encouragement "to physicians, nurses, volunteers and all those consecrated men and women committed to serving the sick and those in need. I also embrace the ecclesial and civil institutions working to this end, and the families who take loving care of their sick. I pray that all may be ever joyous signs of the presence of God's love and imitate the luminous testimony of so many friends of God, including Saint John of God and Saint Camillus de' Lellis, the patrons of hospitals and healthcare workers, and Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, missionary of God's love."
Message of the Holy Father
Catholic Health Alliance of Canada
Other resources are available and can be ordered
To highlight and celebrate the 375th anniversary of the founding of Montreal in 2017, the Archdiocese of Montreal has developed a new website (for now in French only) outlining the Catholic presence in the life of Montreal since its foundation. The web site which will soon also be available in English provides information on the religious history, activities for the 375th anniversary, as well as sections for news and multimedia with historical photos and a series of videos in French entitled "Sur les traces des pionniers" ("In the footsteps of the pioneers"). On 8 December 2016, the Most Reverend Christian Lépine, Archbishop of Montreal, released a pastoral letter for the 375th anniversary. Entitled "In the Name of Jesus", the pastoral letter highlights "the spiritual dimension of our city's origins and its history". The letter is available in English and in French, as well as in Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Polish, and Creole.
Link to the website
Link to the pastoral letter by Archbishop Lépine
The General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops today issued the preparatory document for the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which will take place during October 2018 on the theme "Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment". Pope Francis has also published a letter to young people on the occasion of the publication of the preparatory document.
Link to the letter of the Holy Father
Link to the preparatory document
The Archdiocese of Rimouski is celebrating its 150th anniversary during 2017. Its jubilee year will be inaugurated on 15 January, the same date that Blessed Pius IX signed the decree for the foundation of the diocese in 1867. To mark the occasion, a solemn Mass will be presided by the Most Reverend Denis Grondin, Archbishop of Rimouski, in St. Pius X Church at 11:00 a.m. in Rimouski. The Archdiocese has also produced various resources to celebrate the jubilee which include a logo, a banner, a special prayer for the anniversary and historical documents. There will be various celebratory events, including a pilgrimage, a concert and a diocesan celebration on the feast day of the Archdiocese, which will be held in the Rimouski arena, 28 May 2017, at 10:00 a.m. The Archdiocese of Rimouski has 97 parishes and missions, with a Catholic population of 143,640 served by 74 diocesan priests, five priests who are members of institutes of consecrated life, 14 permanent deacons, 488 religious Sisters and Brothers who are members of religious institutes, as well as 13 lay pastoral workers.
To learn more about the Jubilee Year (in French only)
From 14 to 19 January, 2017, the Most Reverend Lionel Gendron, P.S.S., Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil and Vice President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), will participate in the annual meeting of the Coordination of Episcopal Conferences in Support of the Church in the Holy Land. The meeting's themes of this year will include migrants, dialogue and peace process. This annual international gathering involves representatives from Conferences of Bishops in Europe and North America who meet with the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land (AOCTS). Bishop Gendron will be accompanied by Mr. Carl Hétu, National Director of CNEWA-Canada.
The 103rd World Day of Migrants and Refugees will be celebrated 15 January 2017. The theme of Pope Francis' Message is "Child Migrants, the Vulnerable and the Voiceless". In his Message, the Holy Father wants "to draw attention to the reality of child migrants, especially the ones who are alone. In doing so I ask everyone to take care of the young, who in a threefold way are defenceless: they are children, they are foreigners, and they have no means to protect themselves. I ask everyone to help those who, for various reasons, are forced to live far from their homeland and are separated from their families." In October 2015, the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops published a Pastoral Letter entitled "I Was a Stranger and You Welcomed Me".
Link to the Message
On the liturgical Feast of the Holy Innocents, celebrated this past December 28, Pope Francis addressed a letter to all Bishops around the world, inviting them to "join in the pain of the victims" involved in the sexual abuse of minors and to "weep for this sin. The sin of what happened, the sin of failing to help, the sin of covering up and denial, the sin of the abuse of power." The Pope also observes millions of children in the world have had to interrupt their education because of emergencies and crises, have been forcibly displaced from their countries, die of malnutrition, and live in conditions of slavery. Concluding his letter, the Holy Father recalls that "Christian joy does not arise on the fringes of reality, by ignoring it or acting as if it did not exist. Christian joy is born from a call – the same call that Saint Joseph received – to embrace and protect human life, especially that of the holy innocents of our own day. Christmas is a time that challenges us to protect life, to help it be born and grow. It is a time that challenges us as bishops to find new courage." He continues by saying that being courageous "generates processes capable of acknowledging the reality that many of our children are experiencing today, and working to ensure them the bare minimum needed so that their dignity as God's children will not only be respected but, above all, defended."
Link to the letter of the Holy Father
The Annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will begin in a few days, January 18-25, 2017, on the theme Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us (2 Corinthians 5:14-20). The resources in English and French can be freely downloaded online from the website of the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) and print materials may be ordered as well. The theme and biblical text for the 2017 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity are chosen by an international joint committee of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. National and regional Councils of Churches adapt the resources for their local context. The resources for Canada were produced by an ecumenical writing team coordinated by the Commission on Faith and Witness of the Canadian Council of Churches, in collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism in Montreal and the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism in Saskatoon. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is a member of the Canadian Council of Churches, and is represented on the ecumenical writing team.
Link to Canadian resources on the website of the Canadian Council of Churches
Link to international version of the resources
The Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), has written to the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, concerning the recent consultation by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on political activities involving charities. In his letter, Bishop Crosby "welcomes the decision by the Government of Canada to engage with charities in order to clarify the rules governing political activities." Moreover, he expresses regret that the consultation period ended on December 14, 2016, even though it had been extended by several weeks. "We would note that the amount of time provided was insufficient for our own needs. We would suspect this is also the case for a number of other religious charities, at least those with which we are acquainted and with which we collaborate - not only other Catholic organizations and Christian groups, but also involving other religious traditions."
(CCCB – Ottawa)... His Holiness Pope Francis accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Frederick B. Henry as Bishop of the Diocese of Calgary and has appointed today as his successor the Most Reverend William Terrence McGrattan. At the time of his appointment, Bishop McGrattan was Bishop of the Diocese of Peterborough. Bishop Henry has been Bishop of Calgary for the past 19 years.
(CCCB – Ottawa)... The Most Reverend Jean Gagnon, Bishop Emeritus of Gaspé, died early this morning, December 23, 2016, at hospital in Lévis, Quebec, at the age of 75. After 15 years as Bishop of the Diocese of Gaspé, he submitted his resignation to the Holy Father upon reaching the age of 75, as required by the Code of Canon Law, and which was accepted on July 2, 2016.
Again with the collaboration of Salt + Light TV, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) will be providing on the home page of its website Salt + Light's special broadcasting schedule for Christmas and New Year celebrations to be presided by Pope Francis. Salt + Light will also broadcast Christmas Midnight Mass presided by the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, on December 24, at 11:30 pm (EST), in the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King, Hamilton.
Link to the broadcasting schedule