Letter From the President of the CCCB to Pope John Paul II on the Occasion of the 25th Anniversary of his Pontificate

Sunday, October 05 2003

His Holiness John Paul II
Vatican City

Most Holy Father:

In a matter of days, the 25th anniversary of your election as the Successor of Peter will be celebrated in Rome with great festivity. This is a special moment for all Catholics of the world to rejoice at the wonderful contributions that Your Holiness has made to the Church over this long period, permitting a progressive application of the orientations of the Second Vatican Council.

Your numerous interventions for peace and your pastoral visits throughout the world have had an impact on all societies, and inspired understanding, sharing, and solidarity not only among the faithful of our Church, but also among so many other men and women of the world.

The Church in Canada has also received the attention of your pastoral solicitude; three times you have come to our vast country as a messenger of the Good News, as a loving father who wishes to be with all his children to bring them joy and comfort. The healthy and the sick, the rich and the poor, young and old, those of all cultural origins – Aboriginal Peoples, European descendants, and Canadians from other waves of immigration – all have felt loved and appreciated. I joyfully recall in particular, and with great emotion, your recent visit to Toronto for the celebration of the 17th World Youth Day, when you exhorted the generations of the future to become “the salt of the earth and the light of the world”.

We recall how much you have done to appeal to the best in the human heart, and to lift up today’s men and women before their Creator. We also, the Catholics of Canada, raise our thanksgiving in this year of your anniversary, imploring God to give you the necessary strength and courage to complete the heavy responsibilities which the Lord has entrusted to you and which you have so generously accepted.

The Church in Canada is proud of its Christian roots. Despite the troubling times through which it is passing, it wishes to be resolutely engaged in the new evangelization that you propose to us in the spirit of a pastor. May the festivities of the silver anniversary of your pontificate bring you new energy in the service of Christ and his Church, and nourish in you the hope of seeing many new disciples rise up in this third millennium.

In the name of my brother bishops, the priests, deacons, men and women of consecrated life, and all the faithful of the Church in Canada, I convey to you, Most Holy Father, our hearty congratulations, our deep affections and our fervent prayers.

† Jacques Berthelet, C.S.V.
Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops