The Bull of Indiction (Misericordiae Vultus, or "The Face of Mercy") formally announcing a Holy Year was released by Pope Francis on April 11, 2015, in Rome. The document indicates when the Holy Year will be, how it will unfold, the reasons why it is being proclaimed, and what the results it is hoped will be. The upcoming Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy will commence this coming December 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and conclude on November 20, 2016, with the Solemnity of Christ the King. At the beginning of his Bull of Indiction, the Holy Father writes: "Jesus Christ is the face of the Father's mercy. These words might well sum up the mystery of the Christian faith. Mercy has become living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth, reaching its culmination in him.... We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.... At times we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father's action in our lives. For this reason I have proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy as a special time for the Church; a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective" (nn. 1,2,3).
On April 17, the Church in Canada celebrates the life and witness of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, "the first native North American to be raised to the glory of the altars". She was canonized by Benedict XVI on October 21, 2012, in Rome. The principal text outlining her life and spirituality which has been posted on the CCCB Website is a translation from the liturgical fascicules issued by the French Sector Commission for Liturgy and the Sacraments for each Canadian Saint and Blessed. Printed copies of the complete fascicules in French are on sale from CCCB Publications.
This Fourth Sunday of Easter, April 26, 2015, the Church will mark the 52nd World Day of Prayer for Vocations. The Holy Father has released a Message on the theme "Exodus, a fundamental experience of vocation", which is available on the Vatican website. In his Message, Pope Francis states: "... this liberating exodus towards Christ and our brothers and sisters also represents the way for us to fully understand our common humanity and to foster the historical development of individuals and societies. To hear and answer the Lord's call is not a private and completely personal matter fraught with momentary emotion. Rather, it is a specific, real and total commitment which embraces the whole of our existence and sets it at the service of the growth of God's Kingdom on earth."
Link to the Holy Father's Message
Salt + Light Television is collaborating with Radio Canada, CBC, and RDI network in Montreal to provide live coverage of the funeral mass of His Eminence Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte, Archbishop Emeritus of Montreal. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops will carry on its website the live feed from Salt + Light, which will be broadcasting the CBC/Radio Canada coverage. Father Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., CEO of Salt + Light TV, will provide the CBC English-language commentary on the funeral and Father Alain Roy, a priest from the Archdiocese of Montreal, will do the French-language commentary. The funeral is scheduled for this coming Friday, April 17, beginning at 2:00 pm, Eastern Time, in Mary Queen of the World Cathedral, Montreal.
Link to the blog of Salt + Light on Cardinal Turcotte
The episcopal ordination of the Most Reverend Joseph Dabrowski, C.S.M.A., as Auxiliary Bishop of London will take place tomorrow, April 14, 2015, at 3:00 p.m., at Saint Peter Cathedral Basilica in London. The Most Reverend Ronald Peter Fabbro, C.S.B., Bishop of London, will preside. The Apostolic Nuncio, the Most Reverend Luigi Bonazzi, will be present. At the time of his appointment on January 31, 2015, Bishop Dabrowski was Superior of the North American Vice-Province of "St. Kateri Tekakwitha" of the Congregation of St. Michael Archangel (the Michaelite Fathers, part of the religious family originating with Saint Don Bosco), and pastor of Saint Mary Parish, Ontario, in the Diocese of London. The celebration will be broadcast live on the YouTube account of the Diocese.
Link to the Diocesan website
Following the announcement of the death of His Eminence Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte, Archbishop Emeritus of Montréal, numerous testimonies and messages of sympathy have been posted by media outlets and on social media. Church and government leaders, past and present, have sent condolences to the Cardinal's family as well as to the diocesan community of the Archdiocese of Montréal. Among those who have sent messages of sympathy are the Holy Father, the Prime Minister of Canada, the Premier of Quebec, the Mayor of Montreal, the CCCB President, the Cardinal Archbishops of Toronto and Québec, as well as former politicians, including the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien and the Honourable Lucien Bouchard. The following are the links to a number of these postings:
The Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), has sent a letter of sympathy to the Most Reverend Christian Lépine, Archbishop of Montréal, following the death on April 8, 2015, of His Eminence Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte, Archbishop Emeritus of Montréal. In his letter, Archbishop Durocher recalls that Cardinal Turcotte was collaborating with the CCCB even before his episcopal ordination, and that "he willingly served his brother Bishops in a number of roles, including that of our national President between 1997 and 2000."
Link to the letter (PDF)
(CCCB – Ottawa)... His Eminence Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte, Archbishop Emeritus of Montreal, died on April 8, 2015, after a lengthy illness. He was 78 years old. The late Cardinal was a priest for 56 years and Bishop for 33 years. He served as the ninth Archbishop of Montreal, from 1990 to 2012. He was made Cardinal by Saint John Paul II at the Consistory of November 26, 1994.
In a telegram to the Most Reverend Christian Lépine, Archbishop of Montreal, Pope Francis expressed his profound sorrow at the death of Cardinal Turcotte. "I implore the Lord to welcome into the light of eternal life this faithful Pastor who served the Church with dedication," the Holy Father wrote.
(CCCB – Ottawa)... Church leaders from the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC), including the Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), have signed a joint letter to the Right Honourable Stephen Harper concerning Canada's military and humanitarian mission in Iraq and Syria. In their letter, they express their concerns about the humanitarian crises in both countries, "including the displacement and murder of historic Christian communities and the targeting of other religious minorities." The Church leaders state that military efforts alone will not bring peace to the region, but a broader international strategy for peace is required.
To commemorate Pope John Paul II Day on April 2, 2015, the City of Toronto will host a ceremony at 1:00 pm recognizing the late Pontiff, and raise the Vatican flag on the city's courtesy flag pole in Nathan Phillips Square. In addition, a student choir from Saint John Paul II Catholic Secondary School in Scarborough will perform at the event, which will include remarks by His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto.
The Catholic international charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) offers on its website a Way of the Cross in solidarity with the people of Syria. For each of the 14 Stations of the Cross, ACN offers a short prayer to highlight the suffering and the challenges facing the country's Christians who are among the many victims of a civil war that has now lasted four years.
Link to the ACN's Way of the Cross
April 2, the day of the death of Saint John Paul II, is civilly recognized in Canada as "Pope John Paul II Day". The Parliament of Canada last year passed Bill C-266 which received Royal Assent on December 16, 2014, recognizing Saint John Paul II as a champion of human dignity and freedom. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) joins all Canadians in honouring the memory of Pope John Paul II and celebrating this exceptional human being.
To mark the day, the Diocese of Hamilton has prepared a special web page designed to promote and celebrate this commemorative day. For social media, a Facebook page is also available at this address: https://www.facebook.com/JPIIDayinCanada.