Over the past weeks, Pope Francis and the Holy See have repeatedly called for an end to the current violence in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East. Yesterday, July 31, 2014, the President of Caritas Internationalis, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, called for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. This, he said, "is just the first step on the road to a just peace based on inclusive negotiations across the region."
In the middle of this summer season, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) continues to post possible homily ideas and prayers of the faithful to help link the Sunday liturgy with the national pastoral initiative for life and family. In order to help families and parishes, the proposed texts for each Sunday of the month of August 2014 include suggestions from the 18th to the 22th Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 3 to August 31). As usual, these suggestions for homilies and prayers can be easily adapted for family prayer, as well as for personal prayer or for use with other groups or organizations. The texts for the month of August are available on the special Life and Family webpage, under the section "Documents and activities proposed by the CCCB".
On August 4, 1914, Great Britain declared war on Germany, which had violated the neutrality of Belgium by invading it. Canada, as part of the British Empire, was thereby brought into what would be the first of two world wars. A few weeks later, the Canadian Parliament enacted the War Measures Act, empowering the government to co-ordinate Canada's involvement in this bloody war which would result in the deaths of some nine million military personnel and seven million civilians over the next four years.
How should we today understand this event from the perspective of our faith in the Gospel? How should disciples of the Prince of Peace commemorate this violent upheaval in which the lives of so many were sacrificed?
His Eminence Gérald Cyprien Cardinal Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of the Church in Canada, will preside at a Solemn Mass to commemorate the 375th anniversary of the arrival of the Augustines and Ursulines in North America. The celebration, on August 1, 2014, at 4:00 pm in the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec, will be broadcast live on the Web television channel of the Archdiocese of Québec, ECDQ.TV. On August 2, at 3:00 pm, at the historical site Place Royale, the Ursuline Museum will present a dramatic performance recreating the arrival of the Augustine and Ursuline Sisters in the New World. They arrived in New France on August 1, 1639, in order to establish the first hospital in North America north of Mexico and the first educational institution on the continent for women and girls.
Link to ECDQ.TV
Link to the Website of the 375th anniversary (in French only)
The 2015 edition of the Workbook for Lectors, Gospel Readers, and Proclaimers of the Word is now available from CCCB Publications. This resource contains the Scripture readings in large print for easy practice, with words in bold indicating suggestions for emphasis, commentaries that give background and explain the meaning of the reading, as well as margin notes with pronunciation guides and tips for proclamation. The Responsorial Psalm is now also included for meditation and context. The Workbook's introduction offers an orientation to this ministry of the Word and an overview of proclamation skills. For those parishes that want to adopt the practice on special occasions, links are provided to audio files demonstrating chanted introductions and closings for the readings. The readings in the Workbook are the NRSV texts taken from the CCCB Lectionary for Sundays and Solemnities as approved for use in Canada.
Link to order the resource
The Holy Father travelled to the Southern Italian City of Caserta on July 28, 2014, for a gathering at the Evangelical Church of the Reconciliation. The Pope was welcomed by the founder of the community, Pastor Giovanni Traettino, the Pope's friend from Argentina, together with over 300 members of the community. In his address, Pope Francis apologized for those Catholics who persecuted Pentecostals in the past and reminded the assembly the importance of the Holy Spirit in bringing unity among Christians.
Link to Holy Father's address on Zenith
The 2014 World Tourism Day will be celebrated this September 27. The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples has released its annual Message, on the theme Tourism and Community Development. "Keenly aware of the social and economic importance of tourism today, the Holy See wishes to accompany this phenomenon from its own realm, particularly in the context of evangelization" writes the Pontifical Council in the introduction of its message.
Link to the Message (PDF)
To mark the end of Ramadan (Id al-Fitr), the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue sent to Muslims a message entitled Towards a Genuine Fraternity between Christians and Muslims. The message has been published on the Pontifical Council’s website.
During a homily on July 7, 2014, in the Chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Vatican residence where he stays, Pope Francis expressed his sorrow for the “sins and grave crimes of clerical sexual abuse”. As reported by Vatican Radio, the Holy Father, speaking in his native Spanish, begged forgiveness, not just for those who he said behaved like "a sacrilegious cult", betraying their mission and profaning the very image of God, but also for the sins of omission of Church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of sexual abuse. The Pope praised the courage of those who spoke up and “shed light on a terrible darkness in the life of the Church”. He said he would not tolerate harm done to a minor by any individual and he said Bishops must “foster the protection of minors and they will be held accountable”.
The General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops has released the working document ("Instrumentum Laboris") for the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. Its theme is The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization. The document was released this past June 26 during a Vatican press conference.
As summer begins, this is a special moment for families who are beginning their holidays following the school year. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) continues to post possible homily ideas and prayers of the faithful to help link the Sunday liturgy with the national pastoral initiative for life and family. In order to help families and parishes pray and give thanks during this summer season, the proposed texts for each Sunday of the month of July 2014 include suggestions from the 14th to the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 6 to July 27). As usual, these suggestions for homilies and prayers can be easily adapted for family prayer, as well as for personal prayer or for use with other groups or organizations. The texts for the month of July are available on the special Life and Family webpage, under the section "Documents and activities proposed by the CCCB".
The Commission for Christian Unity, Religious Relations with the Jews, and Interfaith Dialogue of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is preparing a series of resources to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Unitatis Redintegratio. The actual date that the Decree on Ecumenism was issued by the Second Vatican Council was November 21, 1964. However, the Commission is releasing the following anniversary resources now, to assist dioceses, parishes, institutes and communities of consecrated life, and other groups begin planning their own celebrations of the Decree:
The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) is inviting donations in response to the severe crisis in South Sudan. The situation in that new nation has been rapidly deteriorating since last December and there is now a humanitarian crisis. Over one million people have been displaced, leaving hundreds of thousands as refugees, and over three million are facing severe food shortages. Development and Peace has been supporting peace and reconciliation projects in the region for several years, and will continue to follow the situation closely. The CCODP is working with Caritas South Soudan and the Society of Daughters of Mary Immaculate to develop a response that will aim to foster the conditions necessary for peace, good governance and reconciliation.
Link to the CCODP website with an updated online donations form