Bishops of Canada Receive President’s Report; Reflect on Synod of Bishops and Canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha

Tuesday, September 25 2012

(CCCB – Ottawa)… The Most Reverend Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton, delivered his first report as President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) on the opening day of its annual Plenary Assembly, Later in the day, the Most Reverend Pedro López Quintana, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, also addressed the Bishops. They are meeting until 28 September 2012.

In his report, Archbishop Smith outlined the major activities of the CCCB over the past year. He also referred to the recent apostolic journey of the Holy Father to Lebanon where he officially released his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente. “In communion with the Holy Father and Bishops everywhere,” the CCCB President said, “we share common responsibilities to advance God’s peace for the Church and humanity, and to deepen communion with God and with all our world.” In his report, Archbishop Smith noted a number of projects: the national pastoral initiative for life and family, the December solidarity visit to Haiti, support for the Church in the Holy Land, the recent Pastoral Letter on Freedom of Conscience and Religion, and the Health Ethics Guide which is published by the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada (CHAC).

The CCCB President also outlined a number of issues to be discussed by the Plenary Assembly: the impact of the current economic downturn, immigration, care for individuals and communities harmed by sexual abuse, and ecumenical collaboration in the area of social justice. Archbishop Smith noted that the Bishops of Canada would also be welcoming His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of the sui juris Ukrainian Catholic Church. “He is currently in Canada to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Ukrainian Catholic Bishop appointed to our country, Blessed Nykyta Budka, who eventually suffered a martyr’s death in Kazakhstan in 1949,” Archbishop Smith said.

Following the President’s report, Bishops Noël Simard of Valleyfield and Gerald Wiesner, O.M.I., of Prince George presented the report of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (, outlining its work and projects over the past year. As well, Bishops Claude Champagne, O.M.I., of Edmundston and Murray Chatlain of Mackenzie-Fort Smith reported on the past year’s work of the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council.

Synod on the New Evangelization and the Canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha

In accordance with CCCB practice, its delegates and substitute delegates who have been elected to the Synod of Bishops presented proposals for possible interventions at the Synod. The Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith will be held in Rome this October. The names of the delegates and substitute delegates will be released by the Holy See over the coming days.

In preparation for the canonization of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, the Most Reverend Lionel Gendron, P.S.S., Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, described the upcoming events in Rome, 20-22 October, and in Montreal on 4 November.  Approximately 1500 Canadian pilgrims are expected to participate in the celebrations in Rome, the majority from the First Nations and other Indigenous communities, as well as a number of Canadian Bishops. These include His Eminence Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte, Archbishop Emeritus of Montreal, CCCB President Archbishop Richard Smith, and Bishop Gendron. As the Bishop of the territory which is now the Canadian diocese where Blessed Kateri lived and died, Bishop Gendron has a key role in organizing the celebrations marking her canonization..

For the second year, the Canadian Catholic television channel Salt + Light TV broadcast live a number of the Plenary events, on both internet and television.

About 80 Bishops from across the country are in Sainte-Adèle, Quebec, for the CCCB Plenary Assembly. For six of them this is their first Plenary since their ordinations as Bishop over the past year. During their annual meeting, the Bishops of Canada review the year’s pastoral activities and share experiences and insights on the life of the Church and society.  Sainte-Adèle is north of Montreal and in the Diocese of Saint-Jérôme.