(CCCB – Ottawa)... On the memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Protectress of Canada, 17 April 2017, which is also Easter Monday, the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), has issued a message marking the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. On behalf of his brother Bishops, he offers best wishes and prayers "that God will continue to keep our home and native land glorious and free, and that Canadians, including the Indigenous Peoples whose lands we share, will continue to work toward a better country and a better world."
The Office national de liturgie of the French Sector of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has published the Spring 2017 edition of its electronic liturgical publication Vivre et célébrer. This is the second electronic issue since the magazine launched its new format in November 2016. The new issue focuses on liturgical formation and includes summaries of a number of the presentations at the annual conference of Societas Liturgica, an international society for liturgical study and renewal, which was held in Quebec City during 2015. Vivre et célébrer is a resource for reflection and formation in liturgical and sacramental life. Its target readership are those working in the area of liturgy as well as others simply wanting to deepen their faith through a better understanding of the liturgy. To obtain a subscription, requests should be sent by email to the Office national de liturgie
or by phoning (613) 241-9461, ext. 137. Subscriptions are free.
Link to the spring edition (in French only)
It has become increasingly clear in recent years that Canada is facing a serious substance abuse crisis. Although this problem has existed in various forms for some time, the recent deaths of so many Canadians due to overdoses – particularly through the use of new potent opioids like fentanyl and carfentanyl – is alarming. In British Columbia, for example, 914 deaths resulted from street drug overdoses in 2016, almost twice as many as in the previous year. The majority of these deaths are connected to fentanyl use. Opioid overdose deaths are also on the rise across the country, posing a serious problem for health authorities.
Pope Francis has invited French biblical scholar Anne-Marie Pelletier to compose the meditations which he will use during the Way of the Cross, 14 April 2017, at the Colosseum in Rome. In 2014 Professor Pelletier was awarded the Ratzinger Prize for her contributions to theology. While she is the fourth woman to write the texts, it is the first time the author is also a wife, mother and grandmother. Professor Pelletier's meditations on the Stations are a variation of the Scriptural Way of the Cross that Saint John Paul II authored, but begin as do the traditional Stations with Jesus being condemned to death. The 2017 meditations end with Jesus' body being placed in the tomb and the women preparing to return the next day to anoint it.
Link to the meditations
The Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), has videotaped his message for Easter. Bishop Crosby recalls that "Easter is meant to leave us with a very different sense of the present and the future. It offers a reality that is full of joy. Easter proclaims that fear and terror and death are not the end of the story." At the conclusion, he notes: "For all of us standing at the empty tomb – whatever the circumstances – there is unfathomable hope. There is hope for those on the peripheries of society; hope for governments and leaders; hope for the Church in this time of purification and renewal, hope for you and for me striving to lead a holy life (cf. Jeremiah 29: 11)." The production of the video was made possible thanks to the collaboration of Salt + Light Television.
The Most Reverend Daniel J. Miehm will be installed as Bishop of the Diocese of Peterborough at St. Peter-in-Chains Cathedral, Peterborough, on 19 April 2017 at 2:00 p.m. When appointed Bishop of Peterborough by the Holy Father on 10 March 2017, Bishop Miehm was then Auxiliary Bishop of Hamilton. The Most Reverend William Terrence McGrattan had been responsible for the Diocese of Peterborough since 2014 until his appointment as Bishop of the Diocese of Calgary on 4 January 2017. Since then, Bishop McGrattan has been the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Peterborough. Bishop Miehm's installation will be live-streamed on Salt + Light TV Website.
The Canadian Catholic television channel Salt + Light TV has arranged a special programming schedule for Holy Week and Easter, 9 to 16 April 2017, covering the celebrations by Pope Francis in Rome. The schedule also includes live broadcasting of the Chrism Mass from the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King in Hamilton on 10 April at 7:00 p.m. The celebration will be presided by the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). Beginning on 10 April, a link to Salt + Light's special programming for Holy Week will be accessible on the home page of the CCCB website.
Link to the special broadcasting schedule
During a news conference on 30 March 2017 by the Holy See, His Eminence Kevin Joseph Cardinal Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life, together with the Most Reverend Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, presented the letter Pope Francis addressed to the organizers of the upcoming World Meeting of Families that will take place 21 to 26 August 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. In his letter, the Holy Father states that "we know how much Christian families are a place of mercy and witnesses of mercy, and even more so after the extraordinary Jubilee. The Dublin meeting will be able to offer concrete signs of this."
Link to the story on Vatican Radio and to the full Message
The President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, His Eminence Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran, has released the Pontifical Council's annual message for the Jain feast of Mahavir Jayanti, celebrated this year on 9 April. The message is entitled "Christians and Jains: Together to foster practice of non-violence in families". The Jain feast commemorates the anniversary of the birth of Tirthankara Vardhaman Mahavir, whom Jains revere as the 24th and last reformer or Tirthankara of Jainism.
Link to the Message (PDF)
In a recent report on 22 March 2017, Vatican Radio announced the reopening of the Edicule or Shrine of the Tomb of Christ, a small chapel located inside the Basilica Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This is the first time in over 200 years that the Edicule has been restored. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is located in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The church contains two of the most visited sites in Christendom: the site where Our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, known as "Calvary", and Jesus's empty tomb, where He was buried and rose from the dead. The restoration work of the Edicule was co-financed by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, the Greek Orthodox Church and the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church, with the Holy See also contributing $ 1 million for this restoration work along with that needed for the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
At the Easter Vigil, we celebrate the light of Christ which we carry, filled with hope, into a world of darkness and uncertainty. In the shadow of the Sainte-Foy massacre this past February, with tensions escalating between nuclear powers and refugees on the move, the invocation of hope seems premature to some and dangerously naïve to others. More personally, the spirits of some may be dampened this Easter by illness, bereavement, family breakdown, addiction, and unemployment. When hope begins to slip away, fear takes its place and we are robbed of peace.
Following the Ad limina visit of the Bishops from Atlantic Canada, it is now the turn of the members of the Assembly of Western Catholic Bishops. On the first day of their Ad limina visit, 27 March to 2 April 2017, after celebrating the Eucharist in Saint Peter's Basilica at Saint Peter's tomb, they were received in a private audience by Pope Francis. During the audience they had the opportunity to present an overview of the life of the Church in their pastoral region. The Most Reverend Richard Gagnon, Archbishop of Winnipeg, is the President of the Assembly of Western Catholic Bishops.