Most Rev. Jacques Berthelet Chosen as New CCCB President

Wednesday, September 19 2001

(CCCB — Cornwall) — During the opening session of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Plenary meeting, Bishop Jacques Berthelet, CSV, of Saint-Jean Longueuil was elected as the new president of the episcopal conference. He will succeed Bishop Gerald Wiesner, OMI, of Prince George who is completing his two-year term at the end of the Plenary meeting.

The election of the new president adheres to the principle of alternance between French and English language bishops. Bishop Berthelet has been the Vice President since 1999. Archbishop Brendan O’Brien of St. John’s, Newfoundland, was chosen as the incoming Vice President.

Prayers for Peace 

The Plenary meeting began with the bishops, observers and CCCB staff observing a moment of silence for the victims of last week’s terrorists’ attacks in the United States. Bishop Wiesner then read a letter he sent to the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops , Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, in which he lamented the recent tragic results of terrorists attacks.

“We assure you of our common commitment to that solidarity which binds together the Church in both our nations and throughout our continent as we together search for justice in the face of the ‘terror of violence’. Terrorism, as the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America goes on to note, is among those ‘social sins which cry to heaven because they generate violence and disrupt peace and harmony’”.

In his letter, Bishop Wiesner underlined the conviction of the Canadian bishops that “the profound vision of respect and concern for life is the only secure foundation for public order and true peace.”

The bishops have also invited the general public to join them in evening prayer at Notre Dame Cathedral in Ottawa at 8 pm on Sunday night, September 23. A short performance by the Cathedral choir will precede the celebration presided by Ottawa Archbishop Marcel Gervais.

In a media release issued by the Archdiocese of Ottawa, Archbishop Gervais hoped a large number of people would participate in the prayer service to pray for our government leaders.

“It is necessary to ask the Father to guide our leaders in the important decisions they will have to make over the coming days. We pray as well for the victims of the recent terrorist attacks and for all people whose lives have been profoundly affected since then.”