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Almost 4,000 Canadian youth going to Krakow for World Youth Day 2016

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*This post was originally published on the CCCB.

(CCCB – Ottawa)… Young pilgrims from all over the world are expected in Krakow, Poland, July 25-31, 2016, to participate in the31st World Youth Day (WYD). Krakow is the city of Karol Wojtyla – Saint John Paul II – who in his early years as priest, university chaplain, Bishop and then Cardinal Archbishop sowed the seeds of what would become in the first years of his pontificate “World Youth Days”.

Close to 3,750 young Canadian pilgrims are registered to attend this international gathering that has as its theme Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Mt 5.7). Following the examples of the 2011 WYD in Madrid and the 2013 WYD in Rio de Janeiro, the Canadian pilgrims will again gather for a national celebration that will be held this year at 1:00 p.m., on July 26, 2016, the Feast of Saint Anne and Saint Joachim, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The event will take place in Krakow’s Tauron Arena, which will also be the major English-language site hosted by the Knights of Columbus throughout the WYD celebrations. His Eminence Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of Canada will preside at the prayer service which will involve Bishops, priests, consecrated persons, youth ministers, musicians, artists and several thousand young Canadian pilgrims.

In addition to the 3,700 young people, the Canadian delegation will include nine Bishops from Canada. The Pontifical Council for the Laity has invited three of the Canadian Bishops to serve as catechists for the youth pilgrims: Cardinal Lacroix; the Most Reverend Albert LeGatt, Archbishop of Saint-Boniface; and the Most Reverend Bryan Bayda, C.Ss.R., Ukrainian Catholic Eparchial Bishop of Saskatoon. Young Canadians will have key roles during the various ceremonies, liturgies and events of the Krakow World Youth Day. From July 20 to 25, many Canadian pilgrims will also have the opportunity to participate in various activities for the Days in the Dioceses of Poland.

During his apostolic voyage to the country, Pope Francis will preside at a number of celebrations. These will include the Eucharistic celebration for the 1050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland which will take place at the national shrine of the Jasna Góra Monastery at which the country’s political and religious leaders will also be present; the WYD welcoming ceremony (July 28); the Way of the Cross on Friday evening (July 29) at Blonia Park; the Eucharist with Polish priests, consecrated persons and seminarians at the Sanctuary of Saint John Paul II (July 30); and the WYD Prayer Vigil on Saturday evening and the final Eucharistic celebration on Sunday (July 31) at Campus Misericordiae. The Holy Father will likewise visit the Auschwitz concentration camp where he will pray in the cell of the martyr Saint Maximilian Kolbe on the 75th anniversary of his death, as well as offer a prayer in silence at the International Monument for the victims of the Birkenau extermination camp which was part of the Auschwitz complex. Among the estimated 1.1 million prisoners who died at Auschwitz were Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) and her sister, Rosa, also a Carmelite Sister.

The Holy Father’s schedule for the week will also include a celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation with young people participating in WYD; a visit to the Children’s University Hospital; a meeting with the Bishops of Poland; prayer in the chapel of the tomb of Saint Faustina; and the blessing of two Caritasbuildings for the poor and the elderly, as well as a meeting with WYD volunteers in the Tauron Arena.

Program schedule for Salt and Light Television
Salt and Light, Canada’s national Catholic television network, available on satellite and cable television throughout the country as well as around the world on the Internet at www.saltandlighttv.org/  orwww.seletlumieretv.org, will be in Poland throughout the week with the network’s CEO, Father Thomas Rosica, C.S.B. Salt and Light will provide live coverage of World Youth Day’s most important moments, including the catechesis sessions as well as numerous interviews. Salt and Light coverage will be featured in Australia, with Catholic Television of Boston, the Hong Kong Diocese Audio Visual Center, and with the United States Military Ordinariate. Having previously served as National Director and CEO of Canada’s World Youth Day in 2002, Father Rosica is the national coordinator of the Canadian delegation to World Youth Day 2016 in Poland. The special website www.wydcentral.org will also carry WYD highlights.


Photo: Bill Wittman

CCCB Easter Message – Why Do You Look for the Living Among the Dead?

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Why Do You Look for the Living Among the Dead?
Easter message by Bishop Douglas Crosby, O.M.I.
Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

As Syrian refugees begin to settle into their new reality of life in Canada, stories of their journeys to this new land all have similar themes. Feeling under siege and faced with an uncertain future in the midst of war, many people were compelled to flee their land, their homes, their work, their education and all that seemed familiar in order to find new life.  

We have been shocked by stories of thousands of families walking miles and miles to the borders of other countries to escape the destruction of war. We have heard of their existence in crowded refugee camps awaiting news about whether they would be accepted into other countries. We have been horrified by the suffering of young children separated from one or both of their parents because of brutality and even death.  

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” This was the question asked of the women at the tomb that first Easter morning and it is something we must ask ourselves. It is a question that is perplexing because the answer seems obvious. Just as the story of Jesus’ death did not end at the tomb when the women found it empty, so too the story of the Syrian refugees does not end at the borders and in refugee camps. In fact, the story begins anew with the hope of the Resurrection.

The Apostles were skeptical of the news about what the women had discovered at the tomb. We too might question how well the refugee families are doing in their new land. Undoubtedly, they are grieving, having been stripped of the freedom to live in their own homeland and yet we see many signs that they are rebounding and making the best of their new reality.  

This Easter, many refugee families are celebrating new life in their new homes. They are cared for and guided by the generosity, love and mercy of the many communities that have marshalled their resources to provide food, shelter and warm clothing for the men, women and children who have finally found a safe place to live among us. The signs of this new life are evident in the children who are playing in nearby parks and being welcomed by friends in their new schools. They are evident in the lives of the adults as they seek to learn a new language and to find meaningful employment. They are evident in the community suppers and special events that have been organized to welcome and support refugee families.  

Easter calls us to look for life among the living with grateful and joyful hearts. Easter calls us to move beyond the tomb and share the good news of the Resurrection with one another. Easter calls us to courageously follow Jesus Christ, the risen one, and to boldly proclaim that out of darkness and suffering come new life.

In feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, and all the other ways by which we protect human dignity and reverence the sacredness of one another’s lives from conception to natural death, we proclaim the death and resurrection of Jesus and participate in his saving redemption. We affirm our profound trust in the Father’s promise of new life. We join in the proclamation of the Good News of the Resurrection, “He is not here, but has risen.”

Happy Easter to you, your family and your loved ones!

I Have Set Before You Life and Death – CCCB Message for Lent 2016

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‘I HAVE SET BEFORE YOU LIFE AND DEATH’
Message for Lent 2016
by the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I.,
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

My brothers and sisters in Christ,

The readings of the liturgy for the opening days of Lent invite us to focus on some basic questions as we begin our journey through this sacred season. What does it mean to repent and believe the Good News? What difference should faith make to our living and dying? How do we convert hearts and lives? The Old Testament reading for the Thursday after Ash Wednesday has particular significance this year for us as God’s people and as a country: I call heaven and earth to witness … that I have set before you life and death …. Choose life, so that you and your descendants may live…. (Deuteronomy 30.19)

The Supreme Court of Canada a year ago, in its decision in the case of Carter v. Canada, invited those in our land to choose death. Any adult suffering from an illness, disease or disability would have the option of physician-assisted suicide. Already, various voices in our country have argued in favour of this even being extended to minors. Appalling as that is, it is not surprising. Children as well as incapacitated adults are being euthanized in the handful of other countries where assisted suicide and euthanasia are now legal.

Throughout the Church’s funeral rite, we are reminded that each life and each death has an important impact on the life of others. In the words of Saint Paul, We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves (Romans 14.7). A consequence of this for Christians is that our mission and our glory is to defend and protect life from conception to natural death as a sacred gift from God, Source of all life.

This year, the Thursday after Ash Wednesday is also the World Day of the Sick. In his Message for this day, Pope Francis reminds us that when we experience suffering, pain and vulnerability, our faith in God is on the one hand tested, yet at the same time can reveal all of its positive resources. Not because faith makes illness, pain, or the questions which they raise, disappear, but because it offers a key by which we can discover the deepest meaning of what we are experiencing; a key that helps us to see how illness can be the way to draw nearer to Jesus who walks at our side, weighed down by the Cross. And this key is given to us by Mary, our Mother, who has known this way at first hand.

Sign the Joint Declaration on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

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This past October 29, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) launched a joint Declaration on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. The sponsoring signatories to the Declaration intend now to engage in a concerted effort in view of obtaining signatures from a wide spectrum of people in Canada who agree with the principles outlined in the Declaration. The number of signatures has grown to 2,264 as of January 12, 2016.

At the launching of the Declaration at the National Press Gallery in Ottawa on Parliament Hill, the CCCB and EFC were assisted likewise by Rabbi Dr. Reuven P. Bulka, C.M., from the Congregation Machzikei Hadas in Ottawa, and Imam Samy Metwally from the Ottawa Main Mosque/Ottawa Muslim Association. At the time of its release, the Declaration had 56 signatories from Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical, Jewish and Muslim faith leaders across Canada.

The invitation to sign the Declaration is now open to all people in Canada who agree with the principles of the Declaration. Signatures are added on line. The Declaration and the signatory option can be accessed below:

Sign the Declaration.

Learn more about Euthanasia by watching the Salt + Light film Turning the Tide.

2015 Video Message for Christmas from the CCCB President

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The Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), has videotaped his message for Christmas and the New Year. Entitled Goodness abounds, Bishop Crosby refers similarly to the theme of mercy which the Church celebrates this month and throughout the coming year as the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. The production of this video has been made possible thanks to the collaboration with Salt + Light Television.

Pope Francis’ remarkable comments at Lutheran Church – Perspectives Daily


Today on Perspectives, Pope Francis and other church leaders respond to the terrorist attacks in Paris, and Pope Francis visits the Lutheran Church of Rome where he makes some remarkable comments about receiving Communion in the Catholic Church.

CNS photo/Nils Meilvang, Reuters

We Remember – Nous Nous Souvenons: Canadian Bishops Commemorate 50th Anniversary of Closing of Vatican II

Today during the Plenary Meeting of the Canadian Bishops in Cornwall, Ontario, the Bishops of Canada and invited guests viewed this special video produced by Salt and Light Television to commemorate the contribution of the Canadian Church to the Second Vatican Council.

Produced by Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, the video features the remaining Canadian “Fathers” of Vatican II as well as contributions by Cardinals Gérald Cyprien Lacroix (Quebec) and Thomas Collins (Toronto) as well as Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher (Gatineau), outgoing President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

It was an honor and privilege for us to offer this film to the Bishops of Canada, and to recall with immense gratitude the contributions of Canadian Bishops to Vatican II and its continued implementation in our country.

Canadian Bishop Hold Plenary, Pope Gives Two Interview – Perspectives Daily

The Canadian Bishops hold their annual plenary assembly. Sebastian Gomes has details. Pope Francis gave two interviews, we have details.’

Salt + Light is providing full coverage of the CCCB 2015 Plenary Assembly. 

Cultivating and Caring for Creation: Becoming Committed

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In preparation for Pope Francis’ new ecological encyclical, Laudato Si, which came out on June 18, 2015, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, led by Bishop Donald Bolen, have released a series of videos and study guides on how Catholics are leading and participating in a new commitment to respect and protect.

The series is based on a recent CCCB document on the environment and it includes 12 programs 10 minutes each, featuring interviews with Bishop Donald Bolen. The segments interweave papal teaching on the environment with interviews or presentations of various environmental initiatives that have integrated a healthy relationship with the environment into their Christian commitment and lifestyle.

See below for the study guide and video for Program Twelve: Becoming Committed

Study Guide

Goal

The goal of Program Twelve is to empower and strongly encourage the people of God to become informed about environmental issues – and to then act, accordingly.

Steps

1. Show the video ” Program Twelve: Becoming Committed”

2. Ask students to form small groups to describe the following impressions from the video:

  • How can I become more involved with the environment?
  • How is the environment and faith connected?
  • What did you know after viewing the video that you didn’t know before?
  • Which quote from what pope in this episode means the most to you and why?

3. Option for Take-Home Assignment. Using the internet links offered here, find more facts about:

  • Existing Catholic eco justice initiatives
  • The writings of Popes on the environment

4. Write 1.5 pages on the results of your research.

5. Group discussion

In groups, first share your short essays and then, asking one person to represent the discussion, make presentations to the class about any or all of the above.
Include suggestions on how students could start an ongoing eco justice project or become involved with local Catholic eco justice projects already in existence.

Cultivating and Caring for Creation: Think Globally, Work Locally

Ecology11

In preparation for Pope Francis’ new ecological encyclical, Laudato Si, which came out on June 18, 2015, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, led by Bishop Donald Bolen, have released a series of videos and study guides on how Catholics are leading and participating in a new commitment to respect and protect.

The series is based on a recent CCCB document on the environment and it includes 12 programs 10 minutes each, featuring interviews with Bishop Donald Bolen. The segments interweave papal teaching on the environment with interviews or presentations of various environmental initiatives that have integrated a healthy relationship with the environment into their Christian commitment and lifestyle.

See below for the study guide and video for Program Eleven: Think Globally, Work Locally

Study Guide

Goal

The goal of Program Eleven is to inspire students to learn from committed Catholic eco justice leaders in our communities who really are showing us a way forward.

Steps

1. Show the video ” Program Eleven: Think Globally, Work Locally”

2. Ask students to form small groups to describe the following impressions from the video:

  • What creative initiatives are being taken on a local level?
  • Why is it good to grow and collect your own seeds?
  • What did you know after viewing the video that you didn’t know before?
  • Which quote from what pope in this episode means the most to you and why?

3. Option for Take-Home Assignment. Using the internet links offered here, find more facts about:

  • Existing Catholic eco justice initiatives
  • The writings of Popes on the environment

4. Write 1.5 pages on the results of your research.

5. Group discussion

In groups, first share your short essays and then, asking one person to represent the discussion, make presentations to the class about any or all of the above.
Include suggestions on how students could start an ongoing eco justice project or become involved with local Catholic eco justice projects already in existence.