CCCB Greetings to His Holiness Pope John Paul II on His 19th Anniversary

Thursday, October 16 1997

Cap-de-la-Madeleine, October 16, 1997

His Holiness Pope John Paul II
Vatican City

Most Holy Father:

The members of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, gathered in Plenary Assembly at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Cape in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec, October 16-21, 1997, send you cordial greetings of love and peace as you celebrate the nineteenth year of your election to the Chair of Peter for the service of the universal Church.

Members of our Conference anticipate with joy meeting you next month during the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for America. The importance of this gathering is well expressed in the Instrumentum Laboris entitled Encounter with the Living Jesus Christ: The Way to Conversion, Communion and Solidarity in America. “In the light of an ecclesiology of communion, it seems clear that the synodal assembly can be an efficacious sign and instrument of union for all the members of the People of God and the local Churches on the continent, in communion with the universal Pastor of the Church and at the same time an authentic testimony of solidarity for civil society in all America and in the entire world.”(#36) Aware of the significance of this event, our present assembly will dedicate time to final preparation and prayer for its success.

During this gathering we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. Through this organization the Catholic Church in Canada has contributed significant financial support toward development projects around the world, demonstrating the concern of the Church for those in need and the generosity of Canadians. As well, conscious of its remarkable service in the proclamation of the Good News, we mark the 175th anniversary of the Propagation of the Faith. We are cognizant of and grateful for the support we have received from this Pontifical Mission Society over the past many years for our northern dioceses, and we continue to support generously its missionary endeavours.

Marking as we do the anniversaries of these institutions of international outreach and sharing, nonetheless most of our attention during this meeting relates to the life of the Church in Canada, enabling us to respond collegially to the needs and concerns of a vibrant community of faith.

Once again, we pledge our fraternal solidarity and pray for your continued health, as we request your Apostolic Blessing on the annual assembly of our Conference and upon the entire Church in Canada.

+Francis J. Spence
Archbishop of Kingston
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops