Death of Pope John Paul II: Letter from the CCCB President

Friday, April 01 2005

It is with great sadness that the Bishops of Canada have learned of the death of our Holy Father, His Holiness Pope John Paul II.

Catholics in our land hold deep affection for this successor of Peter who served the See of Rome and the universal Church for 26 years as an extraordinary spiritual guide and a remarkable bishop. His pastoral visits to our country are fondly remembered, first in 1984, again in 1987, and finally in 2002 for World Youth Day in Toronto. The image of the suffering shepherd, bravely descending from the papal aircraft unassisted in Toronto to greet the young people of the world, moved not only the young and Catholics but all people of goodwill. He ignited joy and a determination to persevere, no matter the challenges, because of his belief that the dignity of human life is united with the mystery of eternal life.

Attentive to and inspired by his many important texts and encyclicals, the Church in Canada responded with particular enthusiasm to the image that he used in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte of “launching out into the deep” to face the challenges of the new millennium. Through both word and example he taught the strength of faith, the power of prayer, the need to forgive, and the imperative of serving the poor and oppressed of the world. His teachings will continue to guide the Church in the years ahead in its mission of proclaiming the Reign of God.

The Catholics of our country are joined by other Christians and members of all faiths in thanking God for the years of service that this holy priest and bishop dedicated to proclaiming Jesus Christ in every corner of the world.

The pastors and all the faithful in Canada pray that the Holy Spirit continue to guide the Church during this period of mourning and transition.

Most Reverend Brendan M. O’Brien
Archbishop of St. John’s
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

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Sylvain Salvas
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