This year, I feel like wishing my friends a 'lucid' Christmas. It's a beautiful word which comes from the Latin 'lucidus', illuminated, well-lit. It applies well to the Christmas season with its candles and votive lamps, its colourful light bulbs, its glowing hearths and shining windows as families and friends gather late into the night. It also recalls the glory of the angels in the darkness of a field near Bethlehem, announcing the birth of him who would one day call himself 'the light of the world' (Jn 8:12). It evokes the star that guided the Magi who came from so far away to that encounter that would fill them with joy (Mt 2, 10).
At the conclusion of the Sunday Angelus, December 8, 2013, in St. Peter Square, Rome, Pope Francis extended his best wishes and blessing for the opening of the jubilee year marking the 350th anniversary of the parish Notre-Dame de Québec. The first Catholic parish canonically erected in North America outside Spanish territories, it is today Quebec City’s cathedral parish. The celebrations began with the official opening of a Holy Door, presided by the Most Reverend Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of the Church in Canada. The Holy Door, a gift of the Holy See, is the seventh in the world. There are four in Rome, one in Ars-sur-Formans, France, and one in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, making this the first outside Europe. Visitors can pass through the Holy Door starting today, December 9, and for the duration of the jubilee year.
The Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), has sent a letter to the Most Reverend Stephen Brislin, Archbishop of Cape Town and President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, on the death of Mr. Nelson Mandela. In his letter, Archbishop Durocher wrote that “here in Canada, we revere him as a man of integrity, who used political power to better the lives of those he served, who urged all people to overcome hatred and division so as to focus on each person's inherent dignity and strive for the common good.”
Link to the letter (PDF)
Link to the Pope’s message of condolences
On November 30, 2013, the Holy Father confirmed in the mandates of the members of the Pontifical Congregation for Catholic Education (for seminaries and educational Institutions). Among the members are His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, and His Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet, P.S.S., Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. Cardinal Ouellet is Archbishop Emeritus of Quebec City. Cardinal Collins is also member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
The Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), participated in the 16 to 19 November, 2013, pilgrimage and meeting in Mexico, “Our Lady of Guadalupe, Star of the New Evangelization in the American Continent”. In addition to the CCCB President were also the following Bishops from Canada: the Most Reverend Gérald C. Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec City and Primate of the Church in Canada;; the Most Reverend Pierre-André Fournier, Archbishop of Rimouski and President of the Assembly of Québec Catholic Bishops; the Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast, S.J., Archbishop of Ottawa; and the Most Reverend Bryan Bayda, C.Ss.R., Ukrainian Catholic Eparchial Bishop of Saskatoon. Archbishop Durocher was part of a panel on the “Continental Mission”, giving his personal perspective on the priorities and importance of mission and evangelization for the Church in Canada. The meeting had been organized by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Knights of Columbus, and the Higher Institute of Guadalupan Studies.
Link to the CCCB President address (PDF)
The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) announced December 5, 2013, that it will join Caritas Internationalis in a special focus on world hunger. This will begin with launching a “wave of prayer” this coming December 10, International Human Rights Day. The campaign theme by Caritas Internationalis, “One human family, food for all”, will also be used by Development and Peace as its theme for the 2014 Share Lent Campaign. According to news reports earlier this week, Pope Francis will offer his blessing and support for the Caritas Internationalis campaign in a video message to be released at the beginning of the global campaign.
(CCCB-Ottawa)…A delegation from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is currently in Rome, December 3 to 13, 2013, for the annual meetings with the offices of the Holy See. Normally, the Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau and CCCB President, would be leading the Canadian delegation, which also includes the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and CCCB Vice President, and Msgr. Patrick Powers, P.H., CCCB General Secretary. Unfortunately, because of a minor temporary health problem, Archbishop Durocher is not able to participate in this year’s visit. The Most Reverend Lionel Gendron, P.S.S., Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueil and CCCB Co-Treasurer, will instead be part of this year’s delegation, thus ensuring it includes representation from the French Sector of the Conference. During their visit, they will be received by Pope Francis in a private audience.
The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) had launched a new Website. The design has been completely changed, and the content includes a number of resources: COLF publications on life and family, workshop guides, reflections on urgent topics, testimonies, and even gift ideas. Visitors are also invited to become subscribers by filling out a form. This will give access to regular email updates on the most recent COLF initiatives and publications.
Link to the new website
As part of the national pastoral initiative for life and family, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) again is posting possible homily ideas and prayers of the faithful to help link the Sunday liturgy with the issues of life and family. The proposed texts for the last month of 2013 include suggestions from the first Sunday of Advent, December 1,to the Feast of the Holy Family, December 29, including suggestions for Christmas Day. The last Sunday of the year has special significance for all pastoral initiatives for life and family. The suggestions can be easily adapted for family prayer on Christmas Day and the New Year, as well as for personal prayer or for use with other groups or organizations throughout Advent and the Christmas season. The texts for the month of December are available on the special Life and Family webpage, under the section “Documents and activities proposed by the CCCB”.
Link to the suggestions for homilies and prayers (PDF)
Following the annual meeting of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) which was held in Rome this week, the Most Reverend Donald Bolen, Bishop of Saskatoon, was interviewed November 27, 2013, by Vatican Radio as the Co-Chair of the International Commission. The other Co-Chair is the Right Reverend David Hamid, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese in Europe.
Link to the interview
Pope Francis has issued his first Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, “The Joy of the Gospel”, on the proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world. The text is addressed to the Bishops, clergy, consecrated persons and lay faithful, and was presented today, November 26, 2013, during a news conference by the Press Office of the Holy See. The Holy Father already gave a copy of his Exhortation this past Sunday to 36 representatives of the Church during the Closing Mass for the Year of Faith. The main chapters of the Exhortation are on the following themes: the Church’s missionary transformation; the crisis of communal commitment; the proclamation of the Gospel; the social dimension of evangelization; and Spirit-filled evangelizers. Printed copies of the Exhortation will be on sale this coming January from CCCB Publications.
Link to the Apostolic Exhortation
Pope Francis presided at the Mass for the conclusion of the Year of Faith on the Solemnity of Christ the King, which was celebrated in Saint Peter’s Square, Rome, November 24, 2013. In his homily, the Holy Father expressed his affection and gratitude to Benedict XVI who had opened the Year of Faith in 2012. “By this providential initiative, he gave us an opportunity to rediscover the beauty of the journey of faith begun on the day of our Baptism, which made us children of God and brothers and sisters in the Church. A journey which has as its ultimate end our full encounter with God, and throughout which the Holy Spirit purifies us, lifts us up and sanctifies us, so that we may enter into the happiness for which our hearts long,” Pope Francis said.
Link to the Pope’s homily