Death of Pope John Paul II

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(CCCB – Ottawa) Catholics in Canada today mourn the death of Pope John Paul II, who died in Rome at the age of 84.

Archbishop Brendan M. O'Brien, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), in a letter to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State of the Vatican City, expressed condolences, saying “On behalf of the pastors and all the faithful of the Church in Canada, I extend condolences and prayers, and we join you, Your Eminence, in praying that the Holy Spirit guide us all during this period of mourning and transition.”

Pope John Paul II left his mark not only on the Church but also on humanity by his many writings and his pastoral visits around the world. His visits to Canada were marked by the fervour of the large crowds that he attracted. His charism was evident during his first visit to Canada in 1984 which lasted 12 days, September 9-20, when he travelled to 12 cities and regions across the country.

He returned in 1987 to visit the Aboriginal people of Fort Simpson in the Northwest Territories. He did this to fulfill his promise to travel to this remote area of Canada’s North, after his visit during the 1984 trip had to be cancelled because of inclement weather.

Although weakened by ill health, the Pope defied all logic by his determination to return to Canada in 2002 to participate in World Youth Day in Toronto. He had founded this event during the 1980s to bring together young people from around the world to discover and celebrate their faith in the living Jesus Christ.

The CCCB president also wished to emphasize the rich heritage left by Saint Peter's successor. “Through both word and example he taught the strength of faith, the power of prayer, the need to forgive, and the imperative of serving the poor and oppressed of the world. His teachings will continue to guide the Church in the years ahead in its mission of proclaiming the Reign of God.”

Memorial celebrations will be held in churches across Canada over the next days to commemorate this remarkable shepherd. As soon as details are available, this information will be added to the web site of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops ( As well, people are invited to leave messages of condolence in a special section of the website. These messages will be forwarded to the Vatican.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, May 02 2006  
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On January 13th 2010, Most Reverend Vincent Nguyen became Canada’s first Catholic Bishop of East Asian descent. He is the great-grandson of a Vietnamese Martyr.