Diocesan events in solidarity with the people of the Middle EastFriday, September 5, 2014
Since the appeal by Pope Francis on August 7, 2014, and throughout these past weeks, most Catholic dioceses across Canada have expressed their solidarity with the people in the Middle East, and invited parishes to remember the Middle East situation in the Prayers of the Faithful. In addition, dioceses are also encouraging Catholics to support assistance and development agencies which are collecting funds for the suffering people of Iraq, Gaza and Syria. Three national Catholic agencies are supporting special projects in the region for emergency assistance and reconstruction: the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, CNEWA Canada, and Aid to the Church in Need.
Over the coming days and weeks, a number of dioceses will host or collaborate in various events:
- Archdiocese of Ottawa: Saturday, September 6, 2014, starting at 1:00 p.m., the Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast, S.J., Archbishop of Ottawa, along with other religious leaders, will speak at a rally for persecuted Iraqi Christians and other minorities on Parliament Hill.
- Archdiocese of Toronto: Sunday, September 7, 2014, at 3:00 p.m., St. Paul’s Basilica in downtown Toronto will host hundreds of worshippers to pray for peace in Israel, Iraq, Ukraine and other regions. More than 20 Greater Toronto Area faith leaders will join His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, and offer prayers in solidarity for all those suffering worldwide. Participants include representatives from Christian, Jewish, Muslim and many other faith traditions.
- Diocese of Hamilton: the Diocese will observe a special Day of Prayer for Peace on Saturday, October 4, 2014, the feast of Saint Francis. The Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton, is asking each parish to mark this Day of Prayer for Peace by setting aside a time of communal prayer – a period of extended prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, a celebration of Morning or Evening Prayer, a celebration of the Liturgy of the Word or Mass, in order to focus on praying for peace.
Other events that took place in past weeks:
- Archdiocese of Vancouver: an evening prayer vigil in Vancouver was held Sunday, August 3, at Saints Peter and Paul Parish, to which Catholics, Protestants and non-Christians were welcomed to pray for peace in Iraq, Syria, Israel, Palestine, and elsewhere in the Middle East, as well as in Ukraine and Russia.
- Archdiocese of Montreal: in response to Pope Francis’ appeal to pray for peace in the Middle East, the Most Reverend Christian Lépine, Archbishop of Montreal, presided at a special Mass on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15, at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral.
- Archdiocese of Québec: a special Mass in solidarity with Iraq’s Christians was celebrated on Sunday, August 17, at Saint-Sacrement Church, Quebec City. This church is the Sanctuary for Peace of the Archdiocese of Québec.
- Archdiocese of Edmonton: the Most Reverend Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton, presided at a special Mass for peace in the Middle East on August 27, at Saint Joseph’s Basilica. The Archbishop also authorized a special collection to support the work of Catholic agencies working with their partners on the ground in the affected Middle Eastern countries to bring relief to the suffering. Donated monies will be forwarded to two Catholic agencies: the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP), which will forward the funds to various Caritas Internationalis agencies working in the region; and the Catholic Near East Welfare Association – Canada (CNEWA). Collections will be taken in all parishes on the weekends of September 6-7 and 13-14.
- Diocese of Saskatoon: a celebration of Evening Prayer for persecuted Christians throughout the world took place September 4 at St. Paul’s Co-Cathedral, Saskatoon.