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Each year, on the Sunday before Pentecost, the Church celebrates World Communications Day. This year’s theme, “Communication and Mercy: A Fruitful Encounter”, was chosen to coincide with the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. The Holy Father’s message for World Communication Day is traditionally published in conjunction with the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers and journalists.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has designated the week of May 8-15 as the fourth annual National Week for Life and the Family. The theme this year is “My Family: A School of Mercy”.

In promoting life and the family, the Bishops invite all Catholics to be visible and effective witnesses to the Gospel of Life and, in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, they invite each family to be a source of life and a school of mercy.

On Sunday, May 8th, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Ascension, a Holy Day of Obligation. The Bible tells us that Jesus ascended into heaven on the 40th day after the Resurrection, so the Ascension falls on the Thursday of the fifth week of Easter.  However, in Canada, as in a number of other countries, the observance of this feast day has been transferred to the following Sunday, six weeks after Easter.

For 26 years St. Mary’s Place of Solitude and Prayer has been a spiritual presence in this diocese.  On Thursday, May 26th 2016 there will be a Celebration of Thanksgiving and Farewell to mark the closing of this hermitage.

The celebration will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Hermitage with a Liturgy of Thanksgiving followed by a reception at St. Ann’s Hall in Doyles.  All are welcome.

Today, April 25, 2016, Bishop Hundt celebrates the 10th anniversary of his ordination as Bishop.  Today we pray for God's blessings on Bishop Hundt as he continues to serve the people of our diocese.  We also offer prayers of gratitude for the service and leadership he has provided.

We express our gratitude to Sister Donna Kelly, CND, and Sister Mildred Chabassol, CND, as they complete twelve years of service to Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Benoit’s Cove.

The members of Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish will be hosting a “Thank You” celebration on Sunday, May 1, 2016. Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Hundt at  2:00 pm followed by a reception downstairs in the Church Hall.

Pope Francis has declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy, which began on December 8, 2015 and will end on November 20, 2016. During this year, there will be many special celebrations called jubilees, each one for particular groups of people. One of those is a Jubilee for young boys and girls, aged 13-16, which will be held on Sunday, April 24. Pope Francis has written a message to young people for this Jubilee. In it he says: “This grace-filled moment also concerns you, dear young people. I encourage you to take an active part in this celebration and to realize that each of you is a child of God (cf. 1 Jn 3:1). I would like to invite you, one by one, calling you by name, as Jesus does each day. For you know that your names are written in heaven (Lk 10:20), in the heart of the Father, that Merciful Heart which is the source of all reconciliation and kindness.”

You can read the entire letter on the next page.

Bill C-14, the draft legislation that will, if passed, legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada, contains no protection for the conscience rights of health care practitioners and healthcare facilities. In view of this, it is urgent not only to inform federal and provincial / territorial legislators of the above concerns, but also to articulate an approach that respects both the sanctity of life and the conscience rights of healthcare workers and institutions when they are faced with a patient’s choice for assisted suicide. The CCCB invites us to collaborate with the Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience. Their website enables individuals to indicate their support for the proposal, as well as to write to appropriate officials in the federal government and in each province or territory regarding the plans to protect conscience rights:

 

- English, http://www.canadiansforconscience.ca/

On April 14, the Government of Canada introduced Bill C-14, which, if passed into law,  will make euthanasia and assisted suicide legal in Canada. Bishop Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., President of the CCCB, has issued the following statement on this bill on behalf of all Canadian Catholic Bishops.

 

STATEMENT ON BILL C-14

BY THE CANADIAN CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS

 

Today, the Government of Canada has introduced Bill C-14, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying). This proposed legislation, which responds to the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in early 2015, will make euthanasia and assisted suicide legal and more accessible in our entire country. The Supreme Court decision and current legislative efforts are in stark contradiction to the endeavours of individuals, families and communities to counteract the dangers and sufferings of suicide – as we have seen this week in Attawapiskat, Ontario.

Amoris Laetitia, “The Joy of Love: On Love in the Family” is the title of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation by Pope Francis which was officially released in Rome at noon on Friday, April 8th. It brings together the results of the two Synods on the family convoked by Pope Francis in October, 2014 and October, 2015.

Pope Francis explains in the introductory section of the Exhortation why he has chosen to write this document. He states:

1. The Synod process allowed for an exam­ination of the situation of families in today’s world, and thus for a broader vision and a re­newed awareness of the importance of marriage and the family. The complexity of the issues that arose revealed the need for continued open discussion of a number of doctrinal, moral, spiritual, and pastoral questions. The thinking of pastors and theologians, if faithful to the Church, honest, realistic and creative, will help us to achieve greater clarity.

The concluding paragraph of the summary of this document states:

The Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia seeks emphatically to affirm not the “ideal family” but the very rich and complex reality of family life. Its pages provide an openhearted look, profoundly positive, which is nourished not with abstractions or ideal projections, but with pastoral attention to reality. The text is a close reading of family life, with spiritual insights and practical wisdom useful for every human couple or persons who want to build a family. Above all, it is patently the result of attention to what people have lived over many years. The Exhortation Amoris laetitia: On Love in the Family indeed speaks the language of experience and of hope.

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