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2007 CCCB Plenary Assembly: In-Depth Reflection on New Evangelization

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Recognizing that today's world requires evangelizing, the Bishops of Canada during their 2007 Plenary Assembly reflected on the theme of the "new evangelization".

After hearing Canadian sociologist Dr. Reginald Bibby outline how Canadians respond to questions about spirituality and religious faith, the Bishops were addressed by Bishop Claude Champagne, O.M.I., Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Halifax and of the Diocese of Yarmouth, who had taught mission studies before being named Auxiliary Bishop of Halifax.

pleniere2007_mgrchampagne.jpgBishop Champagne noted the importance of the action of the Holy Spirit in history and all human societies, cultures and religions. As he explored the meaning of evangelization, he insisted on the importance of going toward the other, being conscious of the other, loving the other freely, and entering into dialogue to discover in the other the gifts of the Spirit.  This dialogue is founded on faith, hope and charity, he said, and demands a deepening of one's own faith - all part of evangelization.

The new evangelization is not about a new Gospel, he said, but about new agents, new methods, and new ardour.  "It means a new evangelization for those who have not yet known Christ and his Gospel" and those who profess no religion or belong to other religious traditions, as well as baptized persons who have lost the sense of living faith and no longer consider themselves as members of the Church, leading a life separated from Christ and his Gospel," Bishop Champagne said.

All baptized are called to this mission, he explained. "Evangelizers are sent to be symbols of this God who comes in Jesus Christ, making visible his action in our world. We are therefore referred to all the values of the Reign of God already present in Jesus' mission: dialogue, human promotion, commitment to justice and peace, education and care of the sick, aid to the poor and to children, freedom, pardon, love, respect for others, with the affirmation of the priority of transcendency and spirituality."

He pointed out that commitment to justice is also part of the new evangelization.  "Witnesses are needed much more than teachers, experience more than doctrine, life and facts more than theory," he said. "It is not so much a question of recovering persons in order to enlarge the Church, as helping them embark on their journey toward the plenitude of God's Reign," he stated.

Permanent Council

At their 2007 Plenary Assembly, the Bishops of Canada elected a number of their colleagues to various positions.

Most Reverend V. James Weisgerber, Archbishop of Winnipeg, was elected President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) for a two-year term.  The Vice President is now Most Reverend Pierre Morissette, Bishop of Baie-Comeau; the two Co-Treasurers, Most Reverend James M. Wingle, Bishop of St. Catharines, and Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall.  These four Bishops constitute the CCCB Executive Committee.

The Executive is a committee of the CCCB Permanent Council.  Its responsibility is to oversee the general orientations and operations of the CCCB, including preparations for the annual Plenary Assembly and follow-up to its decisions.

The Permanent Council will comprise 12 members whose mandate will end in the fall of 2009.  Of this number, eight Bishops are de facto members, including the Executive and four ex officio members: the Archbishop of Montreal (His Eminence Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte), the Archbishop of Quebec City (His Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet), the Archbishop of Toronto (Most Reverend Thomas Collins) and the Eparchial Archbishop of Winnipeg and Metropolitan for Ukrainian Catholics in Canada (Most Reverend Lawrence Huculak, O.S.B.M.)  In order to complete the Permanent Council, Bishops of each Episcopal Region were invited to submit candidates.  Those elected were: Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Corner Brook and Labrador (Atlantic); Most Reverend Eugène Tremblay, Bishop of Amos (Quebec); Most Reverend Ronald P. Fabbro, C.S.B., Bishop of London (Ontario) and Most Reverend Luc Bouchard, Bishop of Saint-Paul (West).

Last Updated on Tuesday, October 20 2009  
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