The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) has developed a very popular "app" for its2015 Share Lent campaign, "Sow much love ... to give". More information about the Lent Calendar App for smartphones and tablets, and how to download it off the App store or Google play, is available on the Development and Peace website.
During the Lenten season, Development and Peace is also welcoming solidarity visitors as part of the Share Lent campaign. Coming from the Philippines, Brazil, Colombia and Madagascar, the four visitors represent various dioceses, religious communities and Church organizations that work with CCODP in their countries. The visitors will visit the following provinces: B.C, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.
Link for the CCODP App
The Catholic agency Aid to the Church in Need announced last week that it is pledging $2.8 million in continuing aid for Christians in Syria. It has already provided more than $3.27 million in assistance for those impacted by the war in Aleppo, Homs, Damascus and other Syrian cities.
Link to the news release
During this Lenten 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. The proposed texts for the month of March 2015 include suggestions from the 2nd Sunday of Lent, March 1, to Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, March 29, which is also the Sunday selected for diocesan celebrations of World Youth Day. 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 March are available on the special Life and Family webpage, under the section "Documents and activities proposed by the CCCB".
The Diocese of Amos has informed the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops that Mrs. Graziella Michaud, mother of His Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet, passed away on February 24, 2015, at the age of 92 and 9 months. Cardinal Ouellet will preside over the funeral on Friday, February 27, at 3:00 p.m., in St-Luc Church, La Motte, Quebec.
Letter of sympathy from CCCB President
Letter of sympathy from CCCB General Secretary
Colonel Guy Chapdelaine, a priest of the Archdiocese of Sherbrooke, will be promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General and appointed Chaplain General of the Canadian Armed Forces. This appointment was announced on February 11, 2015, by General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff. Ordained a priest in 1989, Father Chapdelaine at the time of his appointment was Director of Chaplain Services for the Canadian Forces. He has previously served as a military chaplain in Kosovo and in Afghanistan.
The website of the Office de catéchèse du Québec (OCQ) is presenting the video Les racines de la joie ("The roots of the joy"), a story about the monastic life as a particular form of the consecrated life. Produced on the occasion of the Year of Consecrated Life, this new 12-minute-video is on the life and spirituality of the Cistercian monks of Val Notre-Dame Abbey at Saint-Jean-de-Matha in the Diocese of Joliette, Québec. Among those interviewed is the Most Reverend Yvon Joseph Moreau, O.C.S.O., Bishop of Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière, one of the artisans behind this video on monastic life. It has been produced by the OCQ as part of its series Foi et spiritualité, which includes six capsules reflecting on the spiritual search so many today are living. In the spring of 2015 three other videos will be added to the series --on the environment, suffering, and the socially vulnerable. Each video is accompanied by a written resource for group or individual reflection. Most of these productions benefit from the financial support of the Fondation canadienne de la vidéo religieuse.
Link to the video "The roots of the joy" (in French only)
Reactions and messages of condolence were issued around the world following the recent executions in Libya of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians. Pope Francis prayed for the victims during daily Mass on February 17 in the chapel of the Santa Marta Residence. The Holy Father invited those present to join him in prayer for "our brother Copts, whose throats were slit for the sole reason of being Christian, that the Lord welcome them as martyrs, for their families, for my brother [Coptic Orthodox Patriarch] Tawadros, who is suffering greatly." In a statement issued February 18, the Catholic Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria, His Beatitude Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, invited Catholics "to consider the tragic death of their Coptic Orthodox brothers from a perspective illuminated by faith." He added that Egyptians were united in responding to the "bloody barbarism of the jihadists".
The Assembly of Québec Catholic Bishops (AECQ) has published a reflection on corruption. Issued by the Conseil Église et Société (Church and Society Council) of the Bishops' Assembly, it is being issued as the Province of Quebec prepares for the publication later this year of the final report of the Charbonneau Commission. The Quebec inquiry was given full powers of inquiry by the Government of Quebec in November 2011 to investigate corruption and collusion in the construction industry with possible ties to organized crime and political parties.
Link to the document
For some years, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), in collaboration with the Commissariat of the Holy Land in Canada, has provided clergy and all the faithful a version of the Stations of the Cross which focuses especially on the gift of faith. Prepared for celebrations of the Way of the Cross during Lent and on Good Friday, this pastoral resource includes special prayers for peace in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East. Way of the Cross – Way of Faith unites us with the Church in the Holy Land in responding to the challenges of faith and peace, which Christians there are living so courageously.
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!" In his homily on Ash Wednesday, February 18, 2015, which he celebrated in the Basilica of Saint Sabina in Rome, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of reconciling with God, asking for "the gift of tears, so as to make our prayer and our journey of conversion ever more authentic and without hypocrisy."
Link to the Message of the Holy Father
The Pontifical Council for the Laity released on February 17, 2015, the Message of the Holy Father for the 30th World Youth Day. WYD 2015 will be celebrated in the local Churches on March 29 on the theme "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Mt 5:8). This will be the final diocesan WYD before the next world gathering of youth in July 2016 in Cracow, Poland. In his Message, the Holy Father invites young people to be brave adventurers. "If you allow yourselves to discover the rich teachings of the Church on love, you will discover that Christianity does not consist of a series of prohibitions which stifle our desire for happiness, but rather a project for life capable of captivating our hearts."
Link to Pope Francis' Message
This coming March 22 is the Fifth Sunday of Lent, also known as Solidarity Sunday, which is reserved in most Canadian parishes for the Share Lent Collection. The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) has made available on its YouTube account the video message for the 2015 Share Lent campaign by the Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. In his message, Archbishop Durocher recalls that this campaign across Canada is part of "the Caritas Internationalis global campaign launched by the Holy Father. This campaign is a response to the fact that one out of every nine of God's children still suffer from hunger – close to one billion people on our planet."
Link to the video message
Link to the text of Archbishop Durocher's message