Today on Perspectives, Pope Francis’ General Audience, a letter from the CCCB to the Prime Minister and CNS talks about the death penalty in the United States.
François de Laval and Marie of the Incarnation
Statement by the Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
It is with great joy and thanksgiving that the Bishops of Canada welcome today’s proclamation by Pope Francis that the Universal Church recognizes Bishop François de Laval and Mother Marie of the Incarnation as Saints. Late last year, the Holy Father had consulted the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops about his proposal to proceed with their canonization. We responded then, and we do again today, with a resounding Amen! We are grateful to God for raising up in our midst these two wonderful examples of holiness and service. We thank Pope Francis for this great gift to the Church in Canada, and to all the people of our nation.
Saint François de Laval (1623-1708) was the first Bishop of New France. His diocesan territory originally included most of what is now Canada, much of upper New England and all the Mississippi Valley, extending even to the Rocky Mountains. He is admired for his pastoral work among the Aboriginal Peoples and the settlers of New France, and for trying to defend Native People from being exploited by merchants and governors through the sale of alcohol. He was especially committed to education, founding both a major and a minor seminary. The Séminaire de Québec, which later established Laval University, has made major contributions in the intervening centuries to higher academic education not only in Quebec and the rest of Canada, but throughout North America. Saint François de Laval was known for his commitment to evangelization and his generosity to the poor. After his resignation as Bishop of Québec, he devoted his final years to prayer, penance and the care of the poor.
Saint Marie of the Incarnation (1599-1672) was an Ursuline nun who founded a convent and school to educate girls in New France. Daughters of the French settlers and of the Aboriginal Peoples were educated together, sharing the same table and the same dwelling. After learning several Aboriginal languages, she compiled catechisms and prayers in Huron and Algonquin, as well as an Algonquin dictionary. She also maintained a voluminous correspondence. Her letters remain today an important witness to her deep and generous mystical spirituality, as well as to the day-to-day history of New France. Saint Marie of the Incarnation began a long tradition throughout our continent of Ursuline elementary and secondary schools, dedicated to the education of girls and young women of all faiths and languages. Her canonization happily coincides with the 375th anniversary of her arrival in what is today Quebec City.
Their proclamation as Saints arrives at two important junctures this year in Canadian history. The 350th anniversary of the canonical establishment of Notre-Dame-de-Québec, the first parish in North America outside Spanish-speaking territories, reminds us of the missionary nature of the Church as it was planted in Canadian soil. May Saint François de Laval and Saint Marie of the Incarnation renew in us a sense of mission and our commitment to evangelizing in the joy of the Gospel. This year also has witnessed what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission announced would be its final National Event. May our two new Saints assist all of us, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to build a better future that respects and reverences the contributions that each race and people brings to our country and to our world. Inspired by the examples of these two Saints, and strengthened in the Holy Spirit, let us all collaborate in renewing the face of the earth and founding a civilization of love and service.
Archbishop of Gatineau and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
April 3, 2014
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and Archbishop of Gatineau Paul-André Durocher has issued the following statement on the elevation of Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec, to the College of Cardinals:
As President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, it is a great joy for me, on behalf of all the Bishops of Canada, to extend our heartfelt congratulations to the Most Reverend Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of the Church in Canada, for his having been designated by our Holy Father as a Cardinal of the Church of Rome. This appointment by Pope Francis is a great honour for all the Church in our country, as well as indicating the importance of the See of Québec and the important role it played in evangelizing the New World. What an honour this is for the people of Québec and those of the entire country, as we celebrate the 350th anniversary of the erection of the first parish in North America outside Spanish-speaking territories.
Cardinal-designate Lacroix has already provided extraordinary leadership in the Church in Quebec for his joyful proclamation of the Good News. As Primate, he is recognized throughout the country as an extraordinary leader who is an enthusiastic preacher, with an unmistakable missionary zeal that is accented by his complete dedication to the new evangelization. He is known as a man of sincerity and humility who possesses a welcoming spirit. Most of all, he brings the person of our Lord Jesus Christ to everyone, regardless of their age, sex, culture, faith or personal circumstances. We share this joy with all the members of the “Institut Seculier Pie X”, a Society of Apostolic Life to which he belonged prior to being appointed a Bishop. His joyful character knows no bounds, and is, at all times, completely contagious.
As an ex officio member of the Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Lacroix has always contributed to its meetings much wisdom, deeply rooted in his love of the Gospel. These same qualities will help him greatly as he advises the Holy Father, which is one of the key responsibilities of every Cardinal.
+ Paul-André Durocher
Archbishop of Gatineau and
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
Archbishop Paul Andre Durocher sent this letter to Archbishop Socrates Buenaventura Villegas, President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines on Tuesday, November 12.
To the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Philippines,
Since Friday, we have seen the increasingly devastating reports of the tragedy which has
befallen your country. As President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), I
know I speak on behalf of all my fellow Canadian Bishops when I assure each and every one of
you of our prayers and thoughts at this trying time of national emergency.
Today, we are united with the Holy Father who, at the Angelus in Saint-Peter’s Square,
invited all people to silent and public prayer for the many who lost their lives and for all who are
in such pain at this time. We are united with the many emergency workers and volunteers who
are involved in helping those who are most in need: the injured, the homeless, the bereaved. We
are united to you as you reach out in generosity and compassion in serving the great pastoral
needs of your people.
As you know, many of your family and friends live in Canada. Their pain is particularly
evident, especially as they await news of their loved one. They also are not forgotten by us and
we pledge our care and outreach to them.
The Lord Jesus Christ stands with us in this crisis. We pray that he will give you strength
and renewed faith in this terrible time.
Sincerely yours in Christ our Lord,
Archbishop of Gatineau and
President of the Canadian Conference
of Catholic Bishops
Today on Perspectives, Pope Francis travels to Cagliari, an attack on Christians in Pakistan, shake-up in the Roman Curia and the opening of the annual CCCB Plenary Assembly.
Remarks of Most Rev. Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops at the States Dinner of the 131st Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus in San Antonio, Texas, August 6, 2013
Your Eminences and Excellencies, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, Dorian, Brother Knights, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to have this opportunity to address once again some brief remarks on the occasion of this States Dinner.
The relationship between the Knights of Columbus and the Bishops of Canada is strong, and I and my brother Bishops from Canada who join me on this day are pleased to underline that good rapport by our presence here during the Supreme Convention.
Allow me to share with you a story. Recently I attended the episcopal ordination of the new Bishop of Churchill-Hudson Bay, Most Reverend Anthony Krotki. It took place in the Canadian far north, in the hamlet of Rankin Inlet, in the territory of Nunavut. As part of the celebrations the local Inuit population offered everyone the opportunity to share in a traditional community feast. We gathered in the local arena. As I arrived, I saw a number of people putting down sheets of cardboard across the gymnasium floor. Then they proceeded to throw out on to this cardboard large pieces of raw, frozen fish and caribou, together with the heads and brains and inner organs of Lord knows what other animals. To this was added some raw, fresh whale blubber. After the blessing the local people sat on the floor and gathered up the food in their hands and used small knives to slice off pieces to eat. I saw only one non-local (a missionary priest from Poland — God bless him) get on the floor and join them. Most of us visitors (cowards, some would say), including yours truly, simply stood back and stared. Thanks be to God, there was other cooked food available. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the lineup for that nourishment was very long.
Getting accustomed to a strange diet is not easy. I know my own stomach recoiled at what I saw on that arena floor. Many international travellers know the experience of encountering unfamiliar food and being unable to handle it. This is, I believe, a helpful analogy for understanding the difficulties we encounter today as Christians when we undertake the new evangelization.
When we announce the Gospel, we are proposing a “diet” to which much of our western culture has grown unaccustomed, even allergic. Our “diet” is centred on the Bread of Life, Jesus Himself, truly present in the Eucharistic species. Transformed by this food, our daily diet becomes that of obedience to truth, the embrace of the Cross and self-gift for the sake of world. For anyone more accustomed to a diet of selfishness and relativism, such a proposed diet would be impossible to swallow. The “stomach” recoils. Hence the negative and sometimes vitriolic response to the Gospel and the Church that we witness today.
What is to be done? I suggest two things. First, as I watched the Inuit eat the food that I could not imagine even touching, I noticed the look of satisfaction — even joy —on their faces. Such a “witness” made me wonder if the food might be worth tasting after all. I didn’t get that far, but it at least left me thinking that there must be something good about this particular diet. The most effective way we have of proposing that diet we call the Gospel is to give witness to the joy that it brings us. Our world is living largely on the junk food of individualism and self-reliance, a diet that leaves one hungry and malnourished. By our joy, we invite those accustomed to this empty diet to “taste and see that the Lord is good,” (Psalm 34:8) and in Christ to find true nourishment and real life.
Second, we need to pay close attention to our own daily diet, to avoid giving in to the constant temptation to nibble at the “junk food” that surrounds us. The Holy Father, from his first homily as our Chief Shepherd, called us to model our lives on the custos, on Saint Joseph, by protecting the gifts God has given to us. Foundational among those gifts is that of our identity as disciples. We protect that gift by living it with integrity, which demands a careful attention to our choice of nourishment. May the Lord help each of us to choose as our food only Him and the truth he reveals, and to avoid all else. Apart from Christ, nothing can satisfy.
God bless you all.
Tonight on Perspectives: Pope Francis talks about the Holy Spirit at his General Audience, calls for prayers for China, and meets Angela Merkel. In other news, a major international inter-religious and intercultural dialogue center begins it’s first conference.