Bishops of Canada to Meet Virtually for 2021 Annual Plenary Assembly

Friday, September 17 2021

Ottawa – In consideration of the ongoing public health recommendations on gatherings regarding COVID-19, as well as concern for the health and safety of all involved, the 2021 Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), taking place from 20 to 24 September, will meet by videoconference for a second consecutive year.

Within the virtual format, Bishops will address a number of important subjects, including the pastoral priority of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, to which the Bishops of Canada remain fully committed. Over the course of the week, other key topics to be discussed include how to re-engage or continue the mission of the Church following the coronavirus pandemic; family and life initiatives; and the multi-phase journey leading up to the 2023 Synod of Bishops entitled “For a Synodal Church: Communication, Participation and Mission”. In addition, the new Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, the Most Reverend Ivan Jurkovic, will deliver his first address to the Bishops of Canada by videoconference. The Bishops of Canada will also conclude the election process for the new CCCB Executive Committee consisting of a President, a Vice-President and two Co-Treasurers, one from each the English and French Sector.

As with the virtual format for the 2020 Plenary, deciding to organize the meeting by videoconference necessitated additional consideration regarding its timetable and agenda. Owing to a condensed agenda, topics of general interest – typically featured on the first day-and-a-half of past in-person meetings – will be postponed until next year and likewise precludes the participation of invited observers and guests from a number of national Catholic organizations, as well as accredited representatives of the media as in years past.

A summary of the discussions and key decisions from the Plenary will be issued at the conclusion of the meeting.

What is the Plenary Assembly?

The Plenary Assembly is a gathering of approximately 90 Bishops from across Canada. The meeting involves discussion on a broad range of topics affecting the Catholic faithful in Canada. In normal circumstances, it includes the President’s annual report and an address by the Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, as well as reports from the CCCB’s various commissions and committees. Decisions taken by the Plenary Assembly represent the highest instance of authority within the CCCB. The Most Reverend Richard Gagnon, Archbishop of Winnipeg and CCCB President, will preside over the meeting.