CCCB National Forum Reflects on the Church and Eucharist

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Representatives from 19 national Catholic associations and movements explored “seeing ourselves as a Eucharistic Church.” The 37 participants were attending the Forum for Catholic Associations and Movements hosted by the Episcopal Commission for Associations of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Laity of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops that was held November 3-4 at Saint Paul University in Ottawa.

Sister Lorraine Caza, CND, in her keynote address stated, “A Eucharistic Church, we confess, is a Church where communion is key, a communion with God and among ourselves. Church and Eucharist place us in the realm of relationships. They have to do with a personal, intimate relationship with God and with quality relationships among ourselves.”


Most Rev. Fred Colli, Bishop of Thunder Bay
Most Rev. Fred Colli, Bishop of Thunder Bay and Chairman of the Episcopal Commission which hosted this forum, said, “The challenge for us is to see ourselves as a liturgical community, our celebrations challenge us to live and proclaim what we do and who we are.”

Bishop Colli went on to describe this community, this eucharistic people, as a tapestry – an image that resounded well with the participants. “It is a special piece of art, woven with many threads and gifts, of the people who share in it.” He explained, “the tapestry is our interwoven lives with the life of Christ himself. The liturgical words and actions are inseparable both insofar as they are meaningful signs, and insofar as they bring about what they signify… As we celebrate the Sunday liturgy, we are called to be those threads that keep the tapestry of the liturgy a solid, beautiful, unified masterpiece of praise and glory to God. Our participation…is an essential element to the tapestry. If we fail to do our part, or engage in our responsibility, then the tapestry somehow remains unfinished or amiss.”

Participants were then challenged to explore how they were being Eucharistic in their ministry and through their associations and movements. Robert Cayea, Supreme Director of the Knights of Columbus, said, “As lay people…we rely on the clergy to stand side by side with us in our charitable endeavors. We must then go forward and spread the good news of the Gospel, not only by our behavior in the public sphere, by the stances we take in public, but also by our commitment to love of neighbour and charity.”

Lorette Noble, national president of the Catholic Women’s League, expressed the many ways in which their association engaged in collaborating with their bishops in proclaiming the message of the Gospel as a eucharistic Church, part of which involves their visits with senior members of the government, including the Prime Minister, in Ottawa.


Panelists Warren Dungan, Canadian Catholic Youth Ministry Network, and Sr. Lise Barbeau, SCSL, Canadian Religious Conference, give personal witness of a Eucharistic Church in action.
The weekend Forum was attended by representatives from Ascending Life-Canada, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities of Canada, Association of the Knights of Columbus, Canadian Association of Ministries Program, Canadian Catholic Campus Ministry, Canadian Catholic School Trustees’ Association, Canadian Catholic Student Association, Canadian Catholic Youth Ministry Network, Canadian Conference of Secular Institutes, Canadian Religious Conference, Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services Committee, Catholic Organization for Life and Family, Communauté du Chemin Neuf, Faith and Light, National Evangelization Team Ministries of Canada (NET), Society of St-Vincent de Paul, The Catholic Women’s League, and Ukrainian Catholic Council of Canada.

The Episcopal Commission for Associations of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Laity has been hosting forums with national Catholic associations since 1996 in order to enable them to share their concerns and activities with the Commission and with one another. For the first time this year, the Commission also invited representatives from several movements, to begin exploring what form of liaison might be opportune between the CCCB and Catholic movements in Canada.


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Last Updated on Tuesday, October 20 2009  
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Canada’s oldest diocese, the Archdiocese of Quebec, was established in 1674. Most Reverend François de Laval was its first Bishop.