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Ash Wednesday, which is celebrated this year on February 10, marks the beginning of the season of Lent, a season of prayer, fasting and alms-giving which prepares us to celebrate Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

While Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, all Catholics are encouraged to participate in the Eucharist on this day in order to mark the beginning of the Lenten season.

The Pope's message for Lent 2016 was released to the public on Tuesday, January 26. The theme for this years message is "I desire mercy, not sacrifice" (Mt 9:13), The works of mercy on the road of the Jubilee."

In 1997 Pope John Paul II instituted the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life, to be celebrated on February 2. This year that date will also mark the end of the Year of Consecrated Life, which was inaugurated on November 29, 2014 with a Prayer Vigil in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome.

It is with great sadness that the Diocese mourns the death of Father Aidan Devine.  Father Aidan died suddenly yesterday, January 21, 2016, in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.  At the time of his death, Father Devine was Chancellor of the Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador, as well as Pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Our sympathy is extended to his two brothers, Gerard and Brendan.   Visitation will take place in Goose Bay on Sunday afternoon and evening, and Mass will be celebrated on Monday morning.  On Monday, January 25, in the afternoon the body will be transferred to the Cathedral in Corner Brook. Visitation will take place on Tuesday afternoon and evening, with the funeral Mass taking place on Wednesday morning, January 27, at 10:30 a.m.  Bishop Peter Hundt will be the main celebrant at both Masses.

May his soul and the souls of all the faithfully departed rest in peace. Amen.

Our sympathy is extended to Father Joe Gash and his family on the death of his brother, Anthony Gerard (Tony) Gash . His death took place on Saturday, January 16.  There will be a memorial service in Ottawa for Tony , with a funeral Mass in Corner Brook during the summer.

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated annually around the world from January 18(the Feast of the Confession of Saint Peter) to January 25 (the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul).During this week, Christians around the world are invited to celebrate a week of prayer for the unity of all Christians, to reflect on scripture together, to participate in jointly-organized ecumenical services, and to share fellowship. The resources for this year’s week of prayer have been prepared by an ecumenical team in Latvia. The theme which they have chosen for this year is “Called to proclaim the mighty acts of God (1Peter 2:9)”. Christians around the world are invited to reflect on what it means to be the people of God, and how we are called both to proclaim and to respond to the Acts of God in the world.

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. They would now like to make a concerted effort to obtain signatures from a wide spectrum of Canadians who agree with the principles outlined in the Declaration. The hope is that the Declaration can be used as evidence of the numerous and diverse groups of Canadians who do not support physician-assisted suicide.

The Church celebrates the 102nd World Day of Migrants and Refugees on Sunday, January 17, 2016. This day is an annual commemoration by the Church that seeks to raise awareness of the migration phenomenon. It is especially appropriate given the unprecedented number of refugees and displaced persons now present in our world.  The theme of Pope Francis’ message for this year’s World Day is “Migrants and Refugees Challenge Us:  The Response of the Gospel of Mercy.” In this message, he says,

"Indifference and silence lead to complicity whenever we stand by as people are dying of suffocation, starvation, violence and shipwreck. Whether large or small in scale, these are always tragedies, even when a single human life is lost."

On Sunday, January 10, the Church marks the end of the Christmas seaon with the celebration of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

Over the season of Christmas, the Church celebrates three feasts which mark the revelation of God to humanity:Christmas as the Incarnation of God,  Epiphany as the revelation of God to the Gentiles through the visitation of the Magi and the Baptism of Jesus as the revelation of the Trinity (Jesus Son of God present at the baptism, the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove and the voice of God the Father announcing that this was His Son in whom He was well pleased).

On January 1, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. This, the highest title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was given to her at the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. and is the oldest feast of Mary celebrated by the Catholic Church. In the Canadian Church it is a Holy Day of Obligation, which means that Mass attendance is required.

Also on this date, we celebrate the World Day of Peace. This observation was established by Pope Paul VI in 1968. Each year the Pope issues a message for the World Day of Peace, which has a specific theme chosen by him. The theme of this year’s message is Overcome Indifference and Win Peace.

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