(CCCB – Ottawa)… As part of the annual Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), the Bishops of Canada will lead the celebration of a Solemn Mass on the liturgical Feast of Saints Jean de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs (secondary patrons of Canada), with the Consecration of Canada to the Blessed Virgin Mary on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. The Eucharistic celebration, which will also highlight the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace – Caritas Canada, will be held at Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa, 26 September 2017, beginning at 3:30 p.m. The Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast, S.J., Archbishop of Ottawa and Apostolic Administrator of Alexandria-Cornwall, will preside, together with the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the CCCB, and the Most Reverend Lionel Gendron, P.S.S., Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil and Vice President of the CCCB, as the two principal concelebrants. His Eminence Gérald Cyprien Cardinal Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of Canada, will be the homilist. The Mass will be broadcast live on Salt + Light Television.
With the participation of several dignitaries and elected officials of various levels of Government, the prayer of Consecration will be led by Cardinal Lacroix together with His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, and His Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, who is Archbishop Emeritus of Québec. This initiative to consecrate Canada to the Blessed Virgin Mary was announced last April by the CCCB, with each Bishop also then invited to consecrate his individual diocese or eparchy on 1 July 2017 or at another date thereabouts that might better suit the local pastoral situation. The CCCB prepared catechetical resources for children, young people and adults, which explain that the consecration is a “renewal of our first consecration at Baptism” but “in the particular form of a personal pledge”. An abridged version of the prayer of Consecration was also made available for the personal use of the faithful. The prayer card has a full-colour reproduction of the painting “Notre-Dame du Canada” by the late Québec artist Marius Dubois.
The first time Canada as a whole was consecrated to the Blessed Mother was in 1947 during the National Marian Congress which was held in Ottawa. Ranked at the time as the largest religious gathering until then in North America, the celebration marked the centenary of the Archdiocese of Ottawa and focused on the hope for lasting world peace. A message by Pope Pius XII was broadcast during the Eucharist and was carried by a number of radio stations across the country. The prayer of Consecration was led in French and English by two federal Cabinet ministers, the Right Honourable Louis St-Laurent, then Secretary of State for External Affairs, and the Honourable James J. McCann, Minister of National Revenue and Minister of War Services.
50th anniversary of Development and Peace – Caritas Canada
The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace – Caritas Canada was founded in 1967 by the Canadian Catholic Bishops in response to Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio. In this acclaimed Encyclical, Blessed Paul VI described the development of peoples as the new name for peace. Anniversary of Development and Peace has also been celebrated in dioceses and eparchies across Canada.
To mark the Jubilee of Development and Peace, the President of the CCCB, Bishop Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., published a Pastoral Letter entitled “Toward the Future, United in Faith and Trust”. At the beginning of his letter, Bishop Crosby, on behalf of all the Bishops of Canada, extended “deepest gratitude, congratulations and encouragement.” He went on to state that Bishops “today continue to support the vision, mission and mandate given by our predecessors in 1967: ‘… to assist the poor and the oppressed people of the world in their struggle for justice and to educate us in Canada about the problems of underdevelopment’.” The pastoral letter notes as well the crucial importance for all Catholic agencies to work in close collaboration with the Church and its Pastors.
The CCCB will hold its annual Plenary Assembly, 25-29 September 2017, at the Nav Canada Centre, Cornwall, Ontario, in the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall.