Dear brother Bishops and special guests,
Each year, our gathering in Plenary as the Bishops of Canada is a significant moment; it is a time of communal prayer, reflection and fraternal exchange on a wide range of issues and topics which are important to the Catholic faithful of this land.
This year, our Plenary has taken on particular significance with the 150th anniversary of Confederation. As Canadians everywhere remember the many key moments and peoples in our country’s history, we in particular have had occasion to draw inspiration from Canadian saints and martyrs whose legacy we have inherited in many different ways.
This Tuesday, September 26th, liturgical feast of the Canadian martyrs, we will make a unique contribution to the national celebrations that are taking place to commemorate the birth of Canada as a Confederation. We will gather at the Cathedral Basilica of Notre Dame in Ottawa for a Solemn Mass, at the end of which we, along with all the Catholic faithful, will consecrate Canada to the Blessed Virgin Mary. We will also highlight the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace-Caritas Canada and pray for all of their staff and volunteers, the poor and marginalized whom they serve, and the many Canadians who give generously in the name of charity and solidarity as taught by Christ.
The image which is at the heart of the Catholic participation in this year’s festivities is that of Our Lady of Canada. Painted by the late Marius Dubois (1944-2016), a noted Quebec artist, and enshrined at Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal, one of its most distinctive features is its tripartite maple leaf in her right hand on which the Infant Christ lovingly gazes.
Just as we will place our country, Canada, in the sanctuary of Our Lady’s holy heart, so we embark on these days of discernment bringing forth the mission of the Church, carrying the faithful in our own hearts, and through the intercession of Saint Francois de Laval, patron Saints of Bishops in Canada, we pray for a new outpouring of the Spirit on this gathering and on all of our ministry.
Most Rev. Douglas Crosby, OMI
Bishop of Hamilton
President of the CCCB