Message from the President for Christmas and the Jubilee

Thursday, December 09 1999

My dear brothers and sisters:

This Christmas season ushers in a time of celebration commemorating 2000 years since the birth of Jesus Christ. We celebrate this special moment that begins a Year of Jubilee, the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

With the close of this century and a new millennium approaching, I address my message to Canadians of all traditions and races as well as to those of other nationalities living in our country. In the name of the Catholic Bishops of Canada, I wish to share with you our sentiments on this particular moment, and to tell you about the intentions of our prayers for the days ahead.

Let me first underline why this time is important for all of us who are Christian. It marks 2000 years since Jesus of Nazareth graced our planet and set in motion a movement of love that never ceases to blossom, even though there have been times when we Christians have been inept in showing and sharing that love.

Our sentiment is primarily one of gratitude. We thank our Creator for the wonderful country and the bounties of nature that we share. We thank the multitude of pioneers who came from distant shores, and with courage and perseverance brought about the democratic society that we call Canada. We thank the people of the First Nations for their many sacrifices in the process of building the country that we cherish. We thank as well not only Catholic clergy and religious but also the leadership of all other faith traditions. We also have gratitude in our hearts for the men and women who gave their lives on the battlefields of history to defend our heritage. Finally, we thank all people who have contributed their lives and resources to the common good: teachers, health- care workers, labour leaders, politicians, government employees, volunteers and activists.

Soon we will begin writing our letters and documents using the year 2000. It is a proper time to ascertain what is truly important and what our petitions to God should be emphasizing. Indeed, such are our prayer intentions for the new millennium:

Our list is not exhaustive, yet through it we wish to express our dedication to the building of a society wherein it will be easier to live virtuously, where joy will be the lot of many, where all children will be surrounded with love, where prejudice will have no place and where God will be more evident to all.

In the spirit of the birth of Jesus 2000 years ago, and in the spirit of the Great Jubilee, proclaimed by Pope John Paul II, let us be open to new beginnings — opening our doors to all God’s people and our hearts and homes as well.

In praying that God bless us each and all, I wish you a blessed Christmas and a life- filled, peaceful new year.

Your brother in Christ,

+ Most Reverend Gerald Wiesner, OMI
Bishop of Prince George
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops