Summary Report on CCCB Forum with Catholic Movements and Associations

Tuesday, January 31 2012

CCCB Forum with Catholic Movements and Associations
November 25-27, 2011
Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre, Mississauga, ON

Forum2011-roundtableThe CCCB Standing Committee for Relations with Catholic Movements and Associations hosted a forum November 25-27, 2011 for movements and associations within the Catholic Church in Canada to discuss how they might grow in communion in service of the wider Church.  The theme of the forum was “Witness of Communion.”  The weekend spent together was, according to many who attended, itself an expression of the theme of the meeting: a deep sharing of experiences, knowledge, vulnerabilities, and visions.

Bishop Gary Gordon of Whitehorse, the Chair of the Standing Committee, opened the gathering with a warm welcome and introduction of the theme.  Participants from the 26 movements and associations represented at the meeting shared something about what they hoped to gain from the weekend together, and a scripture passage that inspired the activity and work of their movement or association.  All expressed a desire to be together, to get to know one another, and to experience more integrated work among the movements and associations.

Bishop William McGrattan’s keynote address, “The New Evangelization: An Invitation to Communion and Mission,” focused on the Vatican document The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith, released in preparation for the upcoming Synod. He noted the unique language that Pope Benedict applied to the challenge of the call to new evangelization, which was a call to dialogue that might involve a new form of Christian martyria in the world. Bishop McGrattan is Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto.

Drawing on the work of the late Cardinal Avery Dulles, Father Daniel Renaud, O.M.I., the weekend’s animator, shared about various models of the Church and how they form the background of personal conceptions of Church and ministry.  He showed how gaining a conscious understanding of these models and one’s own models of Church enables members of the Church to engage constructively with others who might hold a different view of both Church and ministry. 

Bishops and participants from the movements and associations shared about the identity and charisms of their respective movements, raised questions about communion and solidarity that emerged from their particular ecclesial experiences, and reflected together constructively on how their work might contribute to building communion in the Church.

Forum2011-discussion-groupTen key principles of action emerged from these group discussions. They focused on the importance of sharing one’s identity with others, receiving the gift of others’ charisms, recognizing the challenges of communion and how to meet those challenges, and spiritual and logistical tasks that could facilitate communion.

  1. Sharing the good
    Make known the strengths of one’s movement or association.
  2. Recognizing complementarity
    Recognize one’s need of other groups and movements in making known the strengths of each.
  3. Getting to know one another in order to love one another
    Engage in dialogue individually and as a movement, with at least one or two other movements encountered over the weekend.  Allow the dialogue to be personal and based on mutuality, i.e., where all seek to discover and share charisms and to be changed by the relationship.
  4. Being catalysts for communion
    Convene gatherings, develop friendships, invite and accept invitations to experience each other’s charisms, and become a bridge builder to the whole.
  5. Being in communion with the local Bishop
    Become more conscious and intentional about being in dialogue and communion with Church leaders.
  6. Being obedient to the Bishop 
    Trust that the Bishop has the grace of discernment.
    Consider the model of family for the local Church, and the Bishop as father.
  7. Praying for and with the Church
    Communion requires grace and courage to go to places that are uncomfortable, to go beyond ourselves.
  8. Bringing people and groups together to work on common projects
    Build bridges at different levels of ministry.  Realities are diverse but we can, through pastoral and theological training, harmonize.
  9. Developing and using tools for discernment at a group level
    For example, the Catherine of Sienna Institute has such a tool.
  10. Being truthful
    Have the strength, in dialogue, to tell things as they are.
    Establish bases for dialogue and apply these in encounters between groups.

The Forum participants displayed a deep openness to the invitation to communion that the Bishops were modeling.  The Bishops expressed their joys and concerns, and Archbishop (now Cardinal-designate) Thomas Collins of Toronto led the assembly in Lectio Divina.  There was an acknowledgment of being a family, and indeed, friends, together. Above all, everyone recognized the role of the Holy Spirit and the call to live out of the heart of the communion of the Trinity that was the source of true communion.  Times spent praying together, eating together, and conversing were some of the most graced moments of communion.  The forum was, in every respect, an event of immense grace, blessing, consolation, and inspiration.   

Participating Bishops

The Most Rev. Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto
The Most Rev. Brian Dunn, Bishop of Antigonish
The Most Rev. Pierre-André Fournier, Archbishop of Rimouski
The Most Rev. Gary Gordon, Bishop of Whitehorse
The Most Rev. William Terrence McGrattan, Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto

Participating Catholic Movements and Associations

FORUM 2011

  1. Association for Canadian Catholic Adult Formation
  2. Canadian Catholic Campus Ministry
  3. Canadian Catholic School Trustees’ Association
  4. Canadian Catholic Student Association
  5. Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of Canada
  6. Catholic Christian Outreach
  7. Catholic Organization for Life and Family
  8. Catholic Women’s League of Canada
  9. Christian Life Community
  10. Communication et Société
  11. Conférence canadienne des instituts séculiers
  12. Conférence religieuse canadienne
  13. Focolare
  14. Foi et lumière / Faith and light
  15. Heralds of the Gospel
  16. L’Arche
  17. L’Association canadienne des périodiques catholiques
  18. La Table interdiocésaine des communications
  19. La Vie montante
  20. Life Foundation
  21. Madonna House
  22. Neocatechumenate / Chemin Néocatéchuménal
  23. NET Ministries of Canada
  24. Serra International, Canada Council
  25. Shalom International
  26. World-Wide Marriage Encounter

Reporter: Carolyn Chau, M.Div., M.A.

January 31, 2012