Conference Elects new President; Archbishop of Toulouse Reflects on Church’s Mission in New Evangelization

Wednesday, October 19 2011

Archbishop Richard Smith and Archbishop-Elect Paul-André Durocher

(CCCB – Ottawa)… On the second day of its meeting, the Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) elected Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton as its next President and Archbishop-elect Paul-André Durocher of Gatineau as the next Vice President. The incoming CCCB Executive will also include two Co-Treasurers: from the English Sector, Bishop Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., of Hamilton, and from the French Sector Bishop Lionel Gendron, P.S.S., of Saint-Jean-Longueuil. This will be Bishop Crosby’s second term as Co-Treasurer and Bishop Gendron’s first. During the morning of 18 October, Archbishop Robert Le Gall, O.S.B., of Toulouse, France, gave his second presentation as the Plenary’s principal guest speaker.

Archbishop Smith will succeed Bishop Pierre Morissette who ends his term as President at the end of the 2011 Plenary Assembly. The new President was born in Halifax and ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Halifax. He was named Bishop of Pembroke in 2002, and appointed Archbishop of Edmonton by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007. He has been CCCB Vice President since 2009.

The newly elected CCCB Vice President was born in Windsor and ordained a priest for the Diocese of Timmins. He was named Auxiliary Bishop of Sault Ste-Marie in 1997, and appointed Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall in 2002. Just a week ago, on 12 October, he was named Archbishop of Gatineau. Since 2007, he has served two terms as the CCCB French Sector Co-Treasurer.

Msgr Patrick Powers, P.H., General Secretary, Bishop Pierre Morissette, Archbishop Robert Le Gall, O.S.B., of Toulouse and Archbishop Richard Smith

New Evangelization

This year the CCCB invited the Most Reverend Robert Le Gall, O.S.B., Archbishop of Toulouse, France, to lead the Bishops in reflections on two recent Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortations by Pope Benedict XVI: Sacramentum Caritatis (following the Synod on the Eucharist as Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church) and Verbum Domini (following the Synod on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church). After each presentation by Archbishop Le Gall were workshops for the Bishops and invited observers.

Archbishop Le Gall showed how the Pope in his two Exhortations was inviting the faithful to see the “connection between the two tables of the Word and the Eucharist in the Mass”. “The whole Church, in Christ and in time, is a mystery of communion and unity,” he said, adding that “there is no Eucharist without social engagement or solidarity.” “The Word of God sings in our lives,” he concluded, “tuned to the Canticle of the Lamb and the Magnificat of his immaculate Mother, ready for the new evangelization.” The two texts by Archbishop Le Gall will later be posted on the CCCB website. His presentations can be watched by accessing the Salt + Light video library at

The second day of the Plenary Assembly also included explanations on the CCCB 2010 financial statements and 2012 budget, as well as presentations by the Commission for Doctrine and the Ad Hoc Committee on Life and Family. The Commission led a discussion on freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, which began with a reflection by its Chairman Archbishop J. Michael Miller, C.S.B., of Vancouver. Following the report by the Ad Hoc Committee, given by its Chairman, Bishop Ronald P. Fabbro, C.S.B., of London, the Plenary Assembly adopted a plan to make 2012 a preparatory year for a national pastoral initiative titled “Building a Culture of Life and the Family in Canada”.

About 75 Bishops from across the country are participating in the Plenary Assembly, which is reviewing pastoral activities of the past year and also provides a forum for them to share their experiences and insights on the life of the Church and on the major events that shape society.