2014 CCCB Plenary Assembly

Tuesday, September 02 2014

(CCCB – Ottawa)… The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) will hold its annual Plenary Assembly, 15-19 September 2014, at the Hotel Château Mont-Sainte-Anne, Beaupré, east of Quebec City, in the Archdiocese of Québec. The meeting will be chaired by the Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau and CCCB President. The 2014 Plenary Assembly will be preceded, on September 14 at 2:00 pm, by a Pontifical Mass marking the 350th anniversary of the parish Notre-Dame de Québec, the first Catholic parish canonically erected in North America outside Spanish territories. Today, Notre-Dame is Québec City’s cathedral parish. The Special Envoy of Pope Francis, His Eminence Jaime Lucas Cardinal Ortega y Alamino, Archbishop of Havana, Cuba, will preside at the Mass. In addition to representing the Holy Father at the 350th anniversary celebration, Cardinal Ortega will also be one of the key guest speakers at the CCCB Plenary Assembly.

Cardinal Ortega will address the Bishops of Canada on the “social and ecclesial challenges to evangelization and pastoral conversion” in the light of the Aparecida document and Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. The Aparecida document was written by a team which included as one of its principal writers the then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergolio, S.J., Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is the concluding document to the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean which met in May 2007 in Aparecida, Brazil.

Cardinal Ortega was President of the Cuban Conference of Catholic Bishops from 1988 to1998 and from 2001 to 2006, as well as having served as Second Vice President of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM). He is a member of the Holy See’s Congregation for the Clergy and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

In addition to reviewing pastoral initiatives and receiving annual reports from the Conference’s national and sectoral Commissions as well as its Standing Committees, the Bishops will have the opportunity to receive, for the first time at their Annual Plenary, the Most Reverend Luigi Bonazzi, whom Pope Francis appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Canada on December 18, 2013. The Bishops will also welcome the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Most Reverend Arthur Roche, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, which was the first document promulgated by the Second Vatican Council (1963). Later in their week-long meeting, the Bishops will hear concerns about hunger and food shortages from several Bishops who will be visiting from the Global South, as part of the fall education and action campaign by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.

The 2014 Plenary Assembly will include a session by the Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity, Religious with the Jews, and Interfaith Dialogue on the importance of ecumenical dialogue and the experience of being in dialogue with the Catholic Church. This is part of a series of initiatives by the CCCB to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio (1964). The Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace will lead a reflection on Canadian “peripheries” in the light of the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium by Pope Francis, while the Episcopal Commission for Doctrine will present a panel on pastoral co-responsibility with the laity, also in the light of the Apostolic Exhortation. The 2014 Plenary Assembly will as well include reflections and discussions on the working document for the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will be held this October in Rome on the theme “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization”.

Thanks to the collaboration of the Catholic television channel Salt + Light TV, once again this year the annual report by the CCCB President and the daily liturgical celebrations will be broadcast live online and on television. In addition, there will again be daily press briefings, in English and in French, also broadcast on Salt + Light TV. The broadcast schedule for the Plenary will be posted on the CCCB website during the coming weeks. As in previous years, approximately 20 invited observers and guests from a number of national Catholic organizations and other Churches, together with accredited representatives from the media, will be present for the first day and a half of the Plenary, 15 -16 September.