The Archdiocese of Philadelphia held a news conference on March 7, 2014, to announce that a delegation led by the Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia, will go to Rome, March 24 to 26, 2014, in view of the upcoming World Meeting of Families. In addition to meeting with various offices of Holy See, including the Pontifical Council for Families, the delegation will be received by Pope Francis in a private audience. The members of the delegation will take the opportunity to address their hope to the Holy Father that he attends the event in Philadelphia. Pope Benedict XVI had confirmed in February 2013 that the Eighth World Meeting of Families will take place September 22 to 27, 2015, in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The previous World Meeting of Families was hold in Milan during 2012. The home page of the CCCB website, under the section Quick Links, provides a link to the official website of the 2015 World Meeting of Families. Over the coming months, the CCCB will make more information available about this important event for families and Church in Canada.
Link to the Media Release
In his Message on the theme "He became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9)", Pope Francis hopes "this Lenten season find[s] the whole Church ready to bear witness to all those who live in material, moral and spiritual destitution the Gospel message of the merciful love of God our Father, who is ready to embrace everyone in Christ. We can do this to the extent that we imitate Christ who became poor and enriched us by his poverty. Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty."
Link to the Message
Today, Ash Wednesday, March 5, 2014, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) officially launched its Share Lent campaign from Hamilton with the participation of the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and Vice President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). Bishop Crosby was also accompanied by a special guest of Development and Peace, Father Hagos Hayesh, C.M., General Secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Ethiopia and of Caritas Ethiopia, together with the President of the CCODP National Council, Mr. Patrick Kennedy. The theme of the 2014 annual campaign is linked with the new campaign of Caritas Internationalis: "One human family, food for all". The worldwide campaign was announced by Pope Francis in December 2013.
Link to the media release regarding the launch of the 2014 Share Lent campaign
Lent is a time for transformation, inviting us to look at our own lives and to make changes that bring us closer to God. As we draw closer to God, acting for the good of others, especially the impoverished, becomes ever more natural to us. Thus the call to "repent and believe the Gospel," is not only a personal one but a collective one as well. It is a call to the whole human family.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), in collaboration with the Commissariat of the Holy Land in Canada, offers clergy and all the faithful this Way of the Cross which focuses especially on 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. Way of the Cross – Way of Faith is a way to be united with the Church there in responding to the challenges of faith and peace, which Christians live so courageously today in the Holy Land.
On February 7, 2014, four years after the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) announced the completion of its housing reconstruction project in Ti-Boucan (Gressier), Haiti. The project, called "A House for Life", involved constructing homes for 400 vulnerable families. Immediately after the earthquake in 2010, and with the full support of the Bishops of Canada, Development and Peace launched an appeal to the faithful and to the general public. The appeal ultimately raised about $21.5 million. A recent report by CCODP on its emergency relief, reconstruction and development program in Haiti indicates its final phase is expected to end in December 2015.
Link to the report of Development and Peace on Haiti
Link to a video on the project A House for Life
Historian John Zucchi of McGill University, author of The Pontifical Canadian College: An Enduring Ttradition, 125 Years of History, was interviewed by Laura Ieraci of Vatican Radio on February 26, 2014. His book is being launched today, February 28, in Rome, as part of a series of events for the 125th anniversary of the Pontifical Canadian College. The former Archbishop of Québec, His Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, will attend the book launch. The College's 125th anniversary year was launched in March 2013 with the visit of the Governor-General of Canada, the Honorable David Johnston, who was in Rome for the inauguration of Pope Francis' pontificate. The celebrations marking this anniversary year will close in June 2014 with a special Mass at the Church of the Canadian Martyrs in Rome. His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, and His Eminence Gérald Cyprien Cardinal Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of the Church in Canada, will both officiate.
Link to the interview
Link to an overview of the College' history (PDF)
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 2014 include suggestions from the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time, March 2, to the 4th Sunday of Lent, March 30, including suggestions for Ash Wednesday, March 5. As usual, these 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".
On February 25, 2014, Pope Francis issued a letter to families about the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme "The pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization". In his letter, the Holy Father writes that "this Synodal Assembly is dedicated in a special way to you, to your vocation and mission in the Church and in society; to the challenges of marriage, of family life, of the education of children; and the role of the family in the life of the Church." He also asks to families "to pray intensely to the Holy Spirit, so that the Spirit may illumine the Synodal Fathers and guide them in their important task."
Link to Pope Francis' Letter
The Catholic Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories have issued a Letter of Invitation to all the Catholics of their dioceses in advance of the national Truth and Reconciliation event that will take place in Edmonton, March 27-30, 2014. The letter was released yesterday, February 24 by the Most Reverend Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton. In their letter, the seven Bishops note they are adding their "voice to those of the Catholic Bishops and leaders of religious communities across Canada who have already expressed words of apology and regret." The Bishops of Alberta and the NWT indicate that while some students benefited from the experience and education they received, "we acknowledge with deep pain that others speak of their experience at Residential Schools in terms of pain, suffering, and lengthy alienation from family, local community, language and culture. Some also speak of being subjected to sexual and physical abuse at these schools."
His Eminence Gérald Cyprien Cardinal Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of the Church in Canada, was interviewed on Vatican Radio, February 22, 2014, the same day he was elevated to the College of Cardinals. In his interview with Laura Ieraci, Cardinal Lacroix spoke about his love for Christ and the Gospel.
Link to the interview
(Vatican Radio/VIS - February 21, 2014) On Friday morning, 150 Cardinals participated in the extraordinary Consistory on the family, said Father Frederico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, during a news briefing. The participants of the Consistory entrusted to Father Lombardi the reading of the following statement, approved by the Holy Father, which summarizes the thoughts of the Pope and the College of Cardinals:
Link to the statement on News.va
A few days before the Consistory in Rome, February 20 to 23, 2014, Vatican Radio interviewed the Most Reverend Cardinal-designate Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of the Church in Canada. In his interview, Cardinal-designate Lacroix spoke about the challenges of families and the upcoming Synod on the Family during October 2014, as well as on recent statements by the Bishops of Quebec on the Quebec government's Bill 52, "An Act respecting end-of-life care".
Link to the interview (In French only)