CCCB Plenary Assembly: The Church in Canada Called to Put Out into the Deep, with Hope

Thursday, October 30 2003

His Em. Cardinal Marc Ouellet discusses the International Eucharistic Congress planned for Quebec City in 2008

(CCCB-Cap-de-la-Madeleine) The 60th Plenary assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops adjourned today at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Cape with the election of a new executive and new members of its Permanent Council.

Outgoing President Bishop Jacques Berthelet, C.S.V., of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, Quebec, reminded the bishops of the importance of working together. “We know that the Church now faces challenges it has seldom experienced before,” he said. “This requires that we work together in profound communion and close solidarity and, within our Churches in a spirit and renewed sense of synodal togetherness.”

Bishop Berthelet said he believes that despite the challenges facing the Church, the future is one filled with hope. “Hope is not a virtue that leads us to wait for the future patiently. It leads us instead to meet the presence with perceptiveness, freedom and courage. Hope, which is God in us, is in our midst, and allows to move forward together. My wish is for this hope to be in all of us and that it produce love and faith,” he said in his closing remarks. He received a standing ovation from the gathered bishops.

The incoming president, Archbishop Brendan O’Brien of St. John’s, Newfoundland, thanked his predecessor, affirming that the conference will continue the work already underway in such areas such as the redefinition of marriage, and following up World Youth Day and the Vocations Congress.

“We want to continue to be a strong and effective voice for the Church,” he said. “As bishops, we must be prophets of justice and promoters of human rights,” he added, in reference to the social justice presentation of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, of Dublin, Ireland, to the Plenary Assembly earlier in the week.

Joining Archbishop O’Brien on the new Executive Committee are Archbishop André Gaumond of Sherbrooke, Quebec, who was elected Vice President, and Archbishop James Weisgerber of Winnipeg and Bishop Pierre Morissette of Baie-Comeau, who will serve as Co-Treasurers.

Every two years the Plenary assembly of bishops elects a new executive committee and Permanent Council. The new Permanent Council includes:

His Em. Aloysius Cardinal Ambrozic (Toronto)
His Em. Marc Cardinal Ouellet (Quebec)
His Em. Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte (Montreal)
Most Rev. Michael Bzdel, C.Ss.R. (Ukrainians-Winnipeg)
Most Rev. Roger Ebacher (Gatineau-Hull)
Most Rev. Lawrence Huculak, O.S.B.M. (Ukrainians-Edmonton)
Most Rev. Raymond J. Lahey (Antigonish)
Most Rev. Francois Lapierre (Saint-Hyacinthe)
Most Rev. Paul Marchand, S.M.M. (Timmins)
Most Rev. David Motiuk (Auxiliary Bishop, Ukrainians-Winnipeg)
Most Rev. Andre Richard (Moncton)
Most Rev. James Wingle (St. Catharines)

On the final day of the Assembly, the Bishops listened to presentations on Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Gregis on the ministry of the Bishop, as well a presentation on the International Eucharistic Congress that is expected to be held in Quebec City in 2008 which could see the participation of the Pope.