On Tuesday, 14 February 2017, five representatives from the Canadian Council of Imams met in Ottawa with the members of the Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity, Religious Relations with the Jews, and Interfaith Dialogue of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). The five Bishops on the Commission are representative of the ecclesial, linguistic and geographic realities of the Catholic Church in Canada. The Commission is responsible for coordinating the Conference's national ecumenical and interfaith outreach. Currently, the CCCB sponsors eight ecumenical and three interreligious dialogues.
The fifth National Week for Life and the Family will be celebrated across Canada, May 14 to May 21, 2017, from the 5th to the 6th Sunday of Easter. The 5th Sunday of Easter also coincides with Mother's Day. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is again offering dioceses/eparchies, parishes and other non-profit groups possible resources and options for planning and organizing local activities. The theme this year is "Love Grows by Giving". The resources have been prepared by the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF), working in collaboration and consultation with the CCCB and in cooperation with diocesan organizers for Quebec Family Week / Semaine québécoise des familles.
The Christian Interfaith Reference Group of the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) has released a statement on religious freedom. At its November 2016 meeting, the CCC Governing Board provided general approval making the resource available to the Churches. The Reference Group includes representatives from a number of Christian Churches which are members of the CCC, including a representative from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Its mandate is to facilitate sharing and reflection on the experiences of CCC members engaged in interreligious dialogue. Referring to Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, the statement reminds Canadian society: "A healthy pluralism, one which genuinely respects differences and values them as such, does not entail privatizing religions in an attempt to reduce them to the quiet obscurity of the individual's conscience or to relegate them to the enclosed precincts of places of worship."
Link to the statement on the CCC website
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has appointed Ms. Isabel Correa, Director of Youth Ministry at the Archdiocese of Montreal, as the National Coordinator for the Canadian delegation at World Youth Day (WYD) 2019. She succeeds Father Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., CEO of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, who has served Canadian WYD delegations in this capacity over the past years. The 2019 WYD will be celebrated in Panama, 22 to 27 January 2019, on the theme "I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:30).
A delegation including CCCB representatives and organized by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace / Caritas Canada is visiting the Middle East, 29 January to 9 February 2017. Intended to be a tangible sign of the charity and solidarity of the universal Church for the Catholic faithful in the region, the delegation is focusing on Catholic communities in Lebanon and Syria.
The delegation is led by two Bishops from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB): The Most Reverend Raymond Poisson, Bishop of Joliette, Quebec, and The Most Reverend Ken Nowakowski, Eparchial Bishop of the Ukrainian-Greek Catholic Eparchy of New Westminster, B.C. The two are accompanied by Gilio Brunelli, Ph.D., Director, International Programs Department, Development and Peace; Mrs. Hélène Tremblay-Boyko, from Sturgis, Saskatchewan, Vice President of the National Council of Development and Peace; and Mr. Kyle Ferguson, Advisor for Ecclesial and Interfaith Relations with the CCCB.
The International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking is observed on 8 February, the liturgical memorial of Saint Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947), a former Sudanese slave who eventually was freed and became a religious Sister. The Day of Prayer and Awareness is encouraged by Pope Francis, and is an initiative of what is now the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development in collaboration with the International Union of Superiors General. The new Dicastery incorporates the former Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, together with the former Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers and the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.
Link to resources from the Canadian Religious Conference on human trafficking
Link to an outline of Saint Josephine Bakhita's life and spirituality
In 2017, the Message of Pope Francis for Lent is "The Word is a gift. Other persons are a gift." Based on the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (cf. Luke 16:19-31), the Holy Father invites Catholics to find "inspiration in this meaningful story, for it provides a key to understanding what we need to do in order to attain true happiness and eternal life. It exhorts us to sincere conversion."
Link to the Message
A pamphlet to help Canadian Catholics better understand their Muslim neighbours is available from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). Published through the CCCB Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity, Religious Relations with the Jews, and Interfaith Dialogue, the resource is entitled Catholics and Muslims in Canada : Believers and Citizens in Society, and which is part of a CCCB series of resources, A Church in Dialogue.
The first part of the resource presents the origins of Islam, its main currents today, and its similarities with and differences from Christianity. The second part provides an overview of the history and present state of interreligious dialogue between Catholics and Muslims, both at the national and international levels, concluding with some suggestions on how everyone can contribute to such dialogues.
The updated edition of the Order of Christian Funerals approved for use in Canada is now available for purchase from CCCB Publications. Having recently received recognitio from the Holy See, this newest Canadian edition of the Order of Christian Funerals includes the revised texts from the Roman Missal, the NRSV texts of the Scripture readings, and new musical Psalm settings set to the NRSV translation of the Psalms. The musical settings are from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) series entitled Psalms: Sundays and Solemnities.
To commemorate Canada's 150th anniversary, CCCB Publications is offering 50% off the retail price on a certain number of titles published by the CCCB in English and French. This special sale price is effective until 31 December 2017. Orders can be made online www.cccbpublications.ca, by email
or by phone (1-800-769-1147).
Following an invitation by the Bishops in the Middle East, a delegation organized by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace / Caritas Canada (CCODP) is visiting projects it supports in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. The visits are part of an observer mission, 29 January to 9 February 2017. The delegation includes: the Most Reverend Ken Nowakowski, Ukrainian Eparchial Bishop of New Westminster, B.C., and member of the Standing Committee for Development and Peace of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB); the Most Reverend Raymond Poisson, Bishop of Joliette and member of the CCCB Permanent Council and the CCCB Commission for Justice and Peace; Mrs. Hélène Tremblay-Boyko, Vice President of the National Council of Development and Peace; and Mr. Kyle Ferguson, the CCCB Advisor for Ecclesial and Interfaith Relations. The group is accompanied by Mr. Gilio Brunelli, Director of International Programs with Development and Peace.
The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace / Caritas Canada (CCODP) announced on 30 January 2017 the appointment of Mr. Serge Langlois as its new Executive Director. After the confirmation of his appointment by the CCODP National Council, Mr. Langlois stated: "I am pleased to join this organization whose vision and values are dear to me. Our thousands of members, donors, partners and employees form a movement of solidarity, united around our shared values of social justice and international solidarity. On the strength of the support of the Catholic Church in Canada for the past 50 years, we will continue to offer a voice to the poorest and most vulnerable populations in order to respond to the social inequalities and injustices in the world." As has been its practice since being founded by the Bishops of Canada in 1967, CCODP appoints its Executive Directors in consultation with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Link to the news release of CCODP