World Youth Day and Vocations Follow-up Highlights Last Day of Bishops’ Plenary Assembly

Monday, October 21 2002

(Cornwall – CCCB) The Bishops of Canada wrapped up their annual Plenary today by giving approval to the establishment of an ad hoc Episcopal committee to examine ways of following up on World Youth Day 2002 (WYD) and the Third Continental Congress on Vocations.

The special ad hoc committee will be composed of four bishops, one from each region of Canada, and has the following mandate: to review the pastoral impact as well as proposals following WYD and the Vocations Congress; to monitor and encourage youth ministry and vocation work throughout the country; to maintain links with diocesan groups established in relation to both events, and to make recommendations on immediate steps and coordination. The committee is also to recommend long-range policies and structures in relation to vocations and youth ministry and to explore the feasibility of a dedicated Web site.

CCCB President Bishop Jacques Berthelet, C.S.V., of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, in his closing remarks to the Plenary Assembly, said both the Vocations Congress and World Youth Day “helped us appreciate the importance of the graces that our diocesan Churches have received.”

“Our mission is to make fruitful the grace that we have received by better developing our ministry for young people in each of our dioceses,” he said. “We can count on the special committee for youth ministry to help each of our dioceses with this project.”

Speaking on the review of the CCCB document on sexual abuse, From Pain to Hope, Bishop Berthelet said “we make our own the words of the Holy Father at the closing of WYD 2002:

The harm done by some priests and religious to the young and vulnerable fills us all with a deep sense of sadness and shame. But think of the vast majority of dedicated and generous priests and religious whose only wish is to serve and do good!… At difficult moments in the Church’s life, the pursuit of holiness becomes even more urgent.

War in Iraq

Among the motions passed at the closing of the Plenary Assembly, the bishops expressed their solidarity with other religious leaders in Canada in seeking a peaceful resolution to the situation in Iraq, and reaffirming a peace building approach which they said is not only thinkable but possible.

Also, in concert with the Canadian Council of Churches, the CCCB will urge the government of Canada to continue working for a fruitful peace building approach to the problem of Iraq that is consistent with international law and take the common good of the people of Iraq as its starting point.

Other News

The bishops ratified the nomination of Bishop Luc Cyr of Valleyfield as the Francophone representative on the National Council of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.

The Fund for Reconciliation, Solidarity and Communion has been had its mandate continued for another three years. The Fund is financed through the voluntary contributions of organizations and Catholic dioceses across Canada. Each year grants are given to different community projects in the area of healing and reconciliation in Aboriginal communities as well as other programs promoting community growth and better understanding between aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities.

The Plenary also approved a motion allowing the Military Ordinate of Canada to be known as the Diocèse militaire du Canada/Military Diocese of Canada in all common usage.