The Parishioners of Corpus Christi, Toronto

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Welcoming Canada’s two new Saints -- François de Laval and Marie of the Incarnation 

Thursday, April 03 2014

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.

+Paul-André Durocher
Archbishop of Gatineau and
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

April 3, 2014

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Buddhists, Catholics call for closer cooperation on shared values

Indonesian Buddhists release lanterns during a Vesak day procession marking the birth, death and enlightenment of Buddha - AP


(Vatican Radio) Buddhist and Catholic leaders from the United States have concluded a meeting in Rome calling for closer cooperation on key environmental and social justice initiatives. A joint statement at the end of the meeting, which was held from June 23rd to 27th on the theme of ‘Suffering, Liberation and Fraternity”, said the dialogue “strengthened mutual understanding” about these issues and “deepened relationships as a basis for interreligious cooperation based on shared values”.

Below please find the full statement from the conclusion of the Buddhist-Catholic encounter:

The Bishops'  Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue convened a Buddhist­ Catholic Dialogue on "Suffering, Liberation, and Fraternity" in Rome, Italy from June 23 to 27, 2015.

45 Buddhists and Catholics involved in interreligious dialogue and/or social action in the United States attended from New York , Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. The Archdioceses of these five cities supported the dialogue. Among the Catholic participants were representatives from Catholic Charities, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Focolare Movement, Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, and the Catholic Association for Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers. Buddhist participants from the Unites States included leaders representing the Sri Lankan, Thai, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Tibetan, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese traditions.

The dialogue strengthened mutual understanding concerning human suffering and means of liberation, as well as deepened relationships as a basis for interreligious  cooperation based on shared  values. The objective of this "dialogue of fraternity," as it is called by Pope Francis, is to create new and practical forms of collaboration reaching out to those in need in the cities of the participants in the United States of America.

After this dialogue, the participants agreed to return  together to their cities to explore the following kinds of joint interreligious social action initiatives:

• Addressing global climate change on the local level

• Creating outreach program for youth in the cities

• Collaborating in prison/jail ministries and restorative justice matters

• Developing resources for the homeless such as affordable housing

• Educating and providing resources to address the issue of immigration

• Collaborating to create projects with local Catholic parishes and Buddhist communities to address neighborhood social issues

• Developing social outreach  programs for value education to families

• Witnessing our shared commitment as brothers and sisters, our religious values    and  spiritual  practices,  and  our  social collaboration  with  our  religious communities and others in our cities.

Signed by:

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue

Most Reverend Mitchell T. Rozanski, Bishop of Springfield, Chair, Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs

Acharya Fleet Maull, Shambhala Meditation Center

Rev. Ronald Kobata, Buddhist Church of San Francisco

Ven. M. Dhammasiri, Washington Buddhist Vihara

Dr. Sovan Tun, Cambodian Buddhist Society

 Ven. Chao Chu, Los Angeles Buddhist Union

Ven. Thich Tu-Luc, Compassion Meditation Center

Ven. Phramaha Thanat Inthisan, Wat Thai of Washington, DC

Ven. Chung Ohun Lee, Won Buddhist Temple



Rev. Prasanth George Varambinakathu, CMI


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