Bishops of Canada Receive President’s Report, Reflect on the Synod on the Family in the Presence of the New Apostolic Nuncio, and Launch a New Lectionary

Monday, September 15 2014

(CCCB – Ottawa)… On the opening day of its annual Plenary Assembly, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops welcomed the Most Reverend Luigi Bonazzi, who was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Canada by Pope Francis on December 18, 2013. The Bishops also received a report from the CCCB President, the Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher and heard two addresses by the Secretary of the Holy See’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Most Reverend Arthur Roche. Archbishop Roche’s presentation marked the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium. The annual Plenary Assembly, 15-19 September 2014, is taking place at the Château Mont-Sainte-Anne, Beaupré, east of Quebec City, in the Archdiocese of Québec, near the national Shrine of Saint Anne.

In his address, Archbishop Bonazzi recalled the words of Pope Francis, three months after his election. When the Holy Father met with all the Apostolic Nuncios, he said: “Your job is more than important, it is the work of making the Church, of constructing the Church, among the particular Churches and the universal Church, between the Bishops and the Bishop of Rome. You are not intermediaries; rather you are mediators, who create communion with your mediation.” Archbishop Bonazzi continued, “This is precisely the daily service that I would like to offer you, relying upon the grace of God, confident also in the assistance you will provide.” This is the first opportunity for Archbishop Bonazzi to address the full assembly of the Bishops of Canada.

In an informal address, the Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau and President of the CCCB, outlined a number of the Conference’s activities over the past year and explained the main elements in planning the 2014 meeting of the Plenary Assembly.

Synod on the Family

In the afternoon, the Bishops were invited to reflect on the Instrumentum laboris of the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization. A panel of four Bishops was invited to make presentations from the following perspectives: multicultural urban, Bishop Daniel Miehm, Auxiliary Bishop of Hamilton; Indigenous, Archbishop Murray Chatlain, Archbishop of Keewatin – Le Pas; Francophone, Bishop Denis Grondin, Auxiliary Bishop of Québec; and traditional rural, Archbishop Valéry Vienneau, Archbishop of Moncton. The Synod on the Family will begin in Rome on Sunday, October 5, 2014. Altogether, there will be some 253 participants, including the CCCB President. Fourteen couples from all the continents will be auditors.

Pastoral Conversion and the Liturgy

The second half of the afternoon was devoted to the second presentation by Archbishop Roche on the liturgy and pastoral conversion, in the light of the 50th anniversary of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, the first document promulgated by the Second Vatican Council in 1963. In his presentation, Archbishop Roche pointed out that the pastoral conversion to which Pope Francis is calling the Church in his Apostolic Exhortation The Joy of the Gospel is in a sense the continuity of the conversion which began with the Constitution on the liturgy. “…I would venture to suggest three ways that the pastoral imperative of Pope Francis might have some ‘liturgical implications’,” he said. “These can be summarized in three short phrases: proper celebration; ongoing formation; effective preaching.”

After Archbishop Roche’s presentation, the Most Reverend John J. McIntyre, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia, was invited to provide an update on preparations for the next World Meeting of Families. This will be held in Philadelphia, September 22 to 27, 2015, with a number of Canadian dioceses already planning to send married couples and families to the event.

Also before the reception held in honour of the Apostolic Nuncio, CCCB President Archbishop Durocher and the Chairman of the English Sector Commission for Liturgy and the Sacraments, the Most Reverend Fred Colli of Thunder Bay, launched the new Lectionary for Mass: Ritual Masses, Masses for Various Needs and Occasions, Votive Masses, and Masses for the Dead. Approved by the Holy See and the Bishops of Canada, copies of the Lectionary are now on sale from CCCB Publications. In addition, the Commission and the National Liturgy Office have announced a new pastoral resource for funerals which is also available from CCCB Publications. This inexpensive resource, with all the funeral readings from the new Lectionary, is to assist families, friends, liturgical ministers and pastoral teams when planning a funeral.

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