2017 CCCB Plenary AssemblyThursday, August 31 2017
(CCCB – Ottawa)… The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) will hold its annual Plenary Assembly, 25-29 September 2017, at the Nav Canada Centre, Cornwall, Ontario, in the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall. The meeting will be chaired by the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and CCCB President, who will finish his term as President at the end of this Plenary. Part of the 2017 Plenary agenda is dedicated to a reflection on Amoris Laetitia: the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on love in the family. The guest speaker for this reflection will be His Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, who is Archbishop Emeritus of Québec. The Bishops will also take the opportunity of their annual gathering to consecrate Canada to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary as part of the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. The celebration, which also marks the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace – Caritas Canada, will be held at Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa, 26 September, beginning at 3:30 p.m.
In addition to reviewing pastoral initiatives and receiving annual reports from the Conference’s national and sectoral Commissions as well as its Standing Committees, part of the 2017 Plenary Assembly agenda will be dedicated to the election of a new CCCB President and other members of the Executive Committee and Permanent Council who will serve for the next two years.
The Bishops will likewise discuss the pastoral orientations for interreligious dialogue with Islam, the elements and nature of pastoral accompaniment, as well as the situation in the Middle East from the perspective of persecuted Christians. The Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity, Religious with the Jews, and Interfaith Dialogue, the Episcopal Commission for Doctrine and the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace will respectively lead workshops on these three issues. The Bishops will also reflect on human trafficking; there will be a presentation on the work of the Santa Martha Group, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the many institutes of religious life, particularly women religious, involved in work to counter human trafficking.
A highlight of the 2017 Plenary will be the ecumenical prayer service for the commemoration of the fifth centenary of the Protestant Reformation. Co-presiding at the prayer service will be the Most Reverend Richard Gagnon, Archbishop of Winnipeg, and the Reverend Susan Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. Both are co-chairs of a Lutheran and Catholic Working Group which has published Canadian resources marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. The materials are intended to encourage the faithful in reflecting prayerfully on the past 500 years; in offering thanksgiving to God for the progress made in the efforts toward reconciliation; and in praying for pardon and peace whenever words or actions have fallen short of what Christ demands of Christians.
Broadcasting on the Web
Since 2011, through the collaboration of the Canadian Catholic television channel Salt + Light TV, the annual report by the CCCB President and the daily liturgical celebrations of the Plenary Assembly are broadcast live online and on television. Daily media briefings, in English and in French, will also be broadcast on Salt + Light TV, as has been done for the last five years. The broadcast schedule for the Plenary will be posted on the CCCB website in the coming weeks. 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 two days of the Plenary, 25 – 26 September.