The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was celebrated worldwide January 18-25 on the theme: Jesus said to her: "Give me a drink" (John 4:7). Events were held at the diocesan and parish levels across Canada, as well as internationally. To help further promote ongoing reflection and prayer for Christian unity, the following links provide information on a number of reflections and activities related to the 2015 Week of Prayer celebrations:
The World Day for the Consecrated Life is celebrated every year on February 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. This year, the World Day for the Consecrated Life falls during the first part of the Year of Consecrated Life, which began on the vigil of the First Sunday of Advent this past November and will conclude on February 2, 2016.
To celebrate the 2015 World Day, the Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), has issued a message for all who live the consecrated life: members of religious institutes, apostolic societies, and secular institutes, as well as consecrated virgins. The message focuses in a particular way on this past November's Apostolic Letter by Pope Francis to those living the consecrated life.
On January 23, 1890, the Holy See erected the Diocese of Alexandria, which was then made up of the counties of Glengarry and Stormont in Ontario. At the time, it was the smallest in the country with just 21,550 Catholics in 10 parishes served by 12 priests. Today the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall has 29 parishes and missions, with a Catholic population of 55,570. Under the overall theme A Legacy of Faith, the diocese has organized a number of projects to celebrate its heritage as well as to involve Catholics in reaffirming and sharing their faith. A number of activities will take place during 2015 to mark the 125th anniversary, including a Mass of thanksgiving and a reception on May 21. The diocese will also offer five short TV vignettes produced with TVCOGECO Cornwall which retell its history through the eyes of the Bishops who have served the diocese. A special logo has also been prepared which pays tribute to the founding peoples of the diocese: the Celtic cross represents the Scots, and the fleur de lis the French.
To learn more about the celebrations
The Archdiocese of Winnipeg is celebrating its 100th anniversary during 2015. Its Jubilee Year was inaugurated December 4, 2014, with solemn vespers presided by the Most Reverend Richard Gagnon, Archbishop of Winnipeg. According to the diocesan website, "the Archdiocese of Winnipeg covers 116,400 square miles, west from the Red River and Lake Winnipeg to Saskatchewan, north to Barrows, Manitoba, and south to the U.S. Border, serving 150,000 Catholics in six deaneries containing 67 parishes, 22 missions and 10 reduced service churches. There are currently 65 diocesan priests, including 19 retired, 15 religious priests, 106 sisters, 20 deacons, four seminarians and one brother."
To learn more about the Jubilee Year
The organizing committee for the jubilee celebrations marking the founding of Notre-Dame de Québec parish has published a report dated January 20, 2015, on the success of the past year's 350th anniversary. The celebrations concluded on December 28 with the closing of the Holy Door, presided by His Eminence Gérald Cyprien Cardinal Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of the Church in Canada. The committee has assembled statistics on the various events held during the anniversary year. More than 330,000 people passed through the Holy Door, with more than 400 groups of 10 to 500 people involved in pilgrimages. During the jubilee year, close to 1.3 million visitors were greeted at Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica, an increase of more than 40% over previous years.
In 2015, the Message of Pope Francis for Lent is "Make your hearts firm (cf. Jas 5:8)". Based on the theme of the globalization of indifference, the Holy Father expresses his hope "that all those places where the Church is present, especially our parishes and our communities, may become islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference!"
Link to the Message
The Most Reverend Claudio Maria Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, on January 23, 2015, released the Holy Father's Message for the 49th World Communications Day. The Message of Pope Francis is entitled "Communicating the Family: A Privileged Place of Encounter with the Gift of Love". In 2015, World Communications Day will be celebrated May 17, which in Canada is the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. In his Message, the Pope states: "In the family, we learn to embrace and support one another, to discern the meaning of facial expressions and moments of silence, to laugh and cry together with people who did not choose one another yet are so important to each other. This greatly helps us to understand the meaning of communication as recognizing and creating closeness."
Link to the Message
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. The proposed texts for the month of February 2015 include suggestions from the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, February 4, to the First Sunday of Lent, February 22, including suggestions for Ash Wednesday, February 18. As usual, the 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 February are available on the special Life and Family webpage, under the section "Documents and activities proposed by the CCCB".
Subsequent to the death of the late Archbishop Pierre-André Fournier, the College of Consultors of the Archdiocese of Rimouski on January 14, 2015, elected Father Benoît Hins, then Vicar General, as Diocesan Administrator of Rimouski, as required by Canon 421 §1.
The funeral for the Most Reverend Pierre-André Fournier, Archbishop of Rimouski and President of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Quebec, took place on January 18, 2015, in Rimouski. His Eminence Gérald Cyprien Cardinal Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of the Church in Canada, presided. A number of other Bishops also concelebrated, including the Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops; the Most Reverend André Rivest, Bishop of Chicoutimi and Vice President of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Quebec; and the Most Reverend Bertrand Blanchet, Archbishop Emeritus of Rimouski. The celebration was broadcast live on Internet by the television service of the Archdiocese of Québec.
Link to the video archives on ECDQ
Link to the TV report by Radio-Canada (CBC)
Link to a special Facebook page in memory of Archbishop Fournier
The English Sector Commission for Liturgy and the Sacraments of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has published a brochure intended primarily for clergy and pastoral workers on the new Ritual Lectionary launched at the 2014 CCCB Plenary Assembly. It provides information on the content and necessity of the Lectionary: Ritual Masses, Masses for Various Needs and Occasions, Votive Masses, Masses for the Dead, approved by the Holy See and the Bishops of Canada, as well as on its importance for every English-speaking church and chapel in the country which use the Roman Missal. The brochure also provides information on the booklet the CCCB has produced to assist in choosing readings for funerals, Sacred Scripture Readings for a Funeral Liturgy. As indicated in the Decree published in the Ritual Lectionary, this is the only Ritual Lectionary now authorized for use in Canada. Parishes need the Lectionary for marriages and funerals, as well as other special celebrations. Because of copyright laws, neither the Lectionary nor the booklet can be photocopied without explicit written permission from CCCB Publications.
The 101st World Day of Migrants and Refugees will be celebrated January 18, 2015. The theme of Pope Francis' Message is "Church without frontiers, Mother to all". In his Message, the Holy Father says that "Jesus Christ is always waiting to be recognized in migrants and refugees, in displaced persons and in exiles, and through them he calls us to share our resources, and occasionally to give up something of our acquired riches."
Link to the Message