Gathering of Canada’s Bishops begins

Monday, September 24 2018

2018 Plenary Sept24Cornwall, Ontario – The Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) opened today with the celebration of the Eucharist presided by The Most Rev. Lionel Gendron, P.S.S., Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil and President of the CCCB. The week-long annual gathering of Canada’s Bishops is once again being held at NAV Centre in Cornwall, Ontario. Some 90 Bishops from across the country are assembled to discern, discuss, and deliberate on ecclesial matters of national importance. This year’s Plenary Assembly also takes place during the Conference’s 75th anniversary year, having been founded with the encouragement and blessing of the Venerable Pope Pius XII in 1943.

Following a message sent to the Holy Father, the opening day consisted of a full agenda with a number of presentations by special guests. The keynote was delivered by His Beatitude Mar Béchara Boutros Cardinal Raï, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and of all the East, on the challenges facing Maronite Catholics in Canada and other countries, and how the Church in Canada can help young Maronites. In his presentation, Cardinal Raï called on Maronite Catholics in Canada to persevere in their liturgical, spiritual and disciplinary traditions; to enrich Canadian society with Lebanese traditions; and to protect and mentor younger generations whose cultural identity is fragile, especially in a secular environment.

His Excellency The Most Reverend Luigi Bonazzi, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, conveyed greetings from Pope Francis to Canada’s Bishops on the occasion of their annual Plenary Assembly. In his address, the Nuncio invited the Bishops to reflect on the importance of prayer, to be witnesses of love, and to foster communion. Archbishop Bonazzi then read the text of a special blessing from Pope Francis to the Bishops of Canada on the occasion of the CCCB’s 75th anniversary.

As part of the ordinary proceedings of the Plenary, Bishop Gendron presented the President’s Report outlining the Conference’s activities for the year, most notably work in the areas of: families and young people; palliative care; interventions on questions of law and public policy; charity and international development; and the protection of minors. Presentations by the Catholic Organization for Life and Family, Mission chez nous, and Catholic Missions in Canada rounded out the day.

The Plenary Assembly continues through to Friday, September 28, 2018.

Letter from Archbishop Edgar Peña – Reply from the Holy Father