Eucharistic Congress: A Unique Moment for the Catholic Church in Canada

Monday, October 16 2006

(CCCB – Ottawa) … The opening day of the Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) gave Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec, an opportunity to share with the Bishops of Canada details on  preparations for the International Eucharistic Congress to be held in his diocese in 2008.

The Cardinal said the Congress will have three major themes that will enable a deeper appreciation for the Eucharist in Christian life: “The Holy Eucharist, God’s gift”; “The Eucharist, the New Covenant”; and “For the Life of the World”.

A team is preparing the event at the local, national and international levels.  The organizers expect 15,000 participants including 10,000 Canadians.  The Congress will take place 15-22 June 2008, coinciding with the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City.  Similar to World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto, which involved a pilgrim cross traveling across Canada, the organizing committee is promoting the 2008 International Eucharistic Congress with the Ark of the New Covenant which was blessed by Pope Benedict XVI this past May.

Message of the Apostolic Nuncio

In his address yesterday, Archbishop Luigi Ventura, the Pope’s personal representative in Canada as Apostolic Nuncio, noted the work during of the Bishops of Canada during the past year. “I know the efforts that your Conference has made to correct certain situations touched on by the Pope.  I remember the Message To be People of Life and for Life that the members of your Permanent Council made public in response to the Law on Assisted Human Reproduction.  I also remember the process undertaken with the Canadian Members of Parliament by the Catholic Organization for Life and Family, in order to reject all new proposed legislation on assisted suicide and euthanasia.  The Church has the duty and the right to express herself on these questions; your Episcopal Conference does so with respect for the democratic institutions, and also with conviction.  Therefore, as his representative, I desire to thank you in the name of the Holy Father and to echo his recent encouragement to you to continue your steps in this direction”.

Report of the President

As customary, the President of the Conference, Most Reverend André Gaumond, Archbishop of Sherbrooke, gave a report on his first year as President.   Archbishop Gaumond referred to Pope Benedict XVI’s first Encyclical Letter, Deus Caritas Est, a statement that reflects the work by the Episcopal Conference during the last 12 months to “reawaken the spiritual energy without which justice … cannot prevail and prosper”.  He recalled the numerous interventions and projects undertaken by the CCCB including defending immigrants and refugees, calls for solidarity and peace in the Middle East, Africa and South America, and the position by the Episcopal Conference on questions relating to life.

The CCCB was founded by the Bishops 60 years ago, in order to help them in their pastoral responsibilities at the regional, national and international levels and to address challenges confronting society and the Church in Canada.  Meeting until Friday, the 2006 meeting involves some 80 Bishops plus invited observers, including clergy, representatives of Catholic organizations and of other Christian Churches.


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Sylvain Salvas
Director, Communications Service
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