Fruits of Ecumenical Dialogue and the New Evangelization

Friday, October 21 2011

(CCCB – Ottawa)… The second last day of the Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), on October 20, included the annual meeting of the Bishops of the French Sector and also the annual report by the Commission for Christian Unity, Religious Relations with the Jews, and Interfaith Dialogue. The information on the Commission’s activities was presented to the Plenary Assembly by the Most Reverend John A. Boissonneau, Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto, on behalf of Commission Chairman Bishop Martin Veillette of Trois-Rivières. His report was followed by a reflection on the fruits of ecumenical dialogue, animated by Bishop Donald Bolen of Saskatoon. Bishop Bolen, before being named Bishop, had been on staff with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Following their buzz sessions on the presentation, the Bishops indicated their desire to pursue and extend ecumenical dialogue. Bishop Pierre Morissette, President of the CCCB, emphasized that ecumenism is not an option, but a mission intrinsic to Catholic identity. A number of the Bishops present shared the results of ecumenical dialogues in their own dioceses.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the dialogue between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Catholic Church in Canada. A liturgy of thanksgiving will be held on 13 November at 4:00 pm in Saint Joseph Oratory, Montreal. The celebration will be presided by the Most Reverend Barry B. Clarke, Anglican Bishop of Montreal, and the Most Reverend Thomas Dowd, Auxiliary Bishop of Montreal. Bishop Dowd will be representing Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, Archbishop of Montreal. Approximately 15 other Canadian Catholic bishops will also participate.

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.