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 theme for this year’s week of prayer – “Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power (Exodus 15:6)” - has been prepared by an ecumenical team in the Caribbean region. Christians around the world are invited to celebrate God’s reconciling grace, to recognize the pain of the deep divisions which afflict the Church and to become ambassadors of Christ’s message of reconciliation.

We are pleased to welcome to our diocese Reverend Jaison Varkey Cherumadathil, C.F.I.C., a member of the Indian Province of the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception who arrived in the diocese on Tuesday January 9th. Please join in welcoming Father to the diocese and praying for God’s blessing upon his ministry.

The Church celebrates the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees on Sunday, January 14, 2018. This day is an annual commemoration of the Church that raises awareness of the migration phenomenon. The theme of Pope Francis’ message for this year’s World Day is “Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating migrants and refugees.”  In this message, he says:

Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age (Matthew 25:35-43).  The Lord entrusts to the Church’s motherly love every person forced to leave their homeland in search of a better future.[1] This solidarity must be concretely expressed at every stage of the migratory experience – from departure through journey to arrival and return.  This is a great responsibility, which the Church intends to share with all believers and men and women of good will, who are called to respond to the many challenges of contemporary migration with generosity, promptness, wisdom and foresight, each according to their own abilities.

In this regard, I wish to reaffirm that “our shared response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate”.[2]

Click here to read Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees in its entirety.

On Monday, January 8, the Church marks the end of the Christmas season 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 introduced by Pope Paul VI in 1967 and first observed on January 1, 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 the message for this 510st  World Day of Peace is Migrants and refugees: men and women in search of peace.

On Sunday, December 31st, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family. This Feast is  celebrated on the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas.  The Feast of the Holy Family was instituted in 1893 by Pope Leo XIII, who was concerned by the apparent general breakdown of the family at the end of the 19th century. It was originally celebrated on the Sunday within the Octave of Epiphany but the date was changed in the liturgical calendar which was promulgated in 1969.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Recently I attended the Knights of Columbus, Newfoundland and Labrador State, Mid -Year Meeting in Gander.  At that meeting I was pleased to hear the Grand Knights and District Deputies share their stories of the good works done by Councils in feeding the hungry and providing warm winter clothing to the poor.  However, those same stories saddened and humbled me to think that there are so many in our province without the means and resources necessary to keep themselves and their families warmly dressed and well fed.

In their sharing of these stories, the District Deputies and Grand Knights noted the importance of assisting in a way that respects the dignity of the recipients and they spoke of the satisfaction and fulfilment felt by the organizers and contributors of this outreach to those in need.  Their stories reminded me of a touching experience I had one Christmas day as a young priest.

At the time I was covering a parish in a rural area.  After the Christmas morning Mass, a parishioner came forward and invited me to Christmas dinner with his family.  He invited me because he knew I was a visiting priest and did not want me to spend Christmas day alone.  This man was not well to do. He, his wife and four children lived in a trailer park and were having a hard time making ends meet.  However, on that Christmas day he reached out to share his “riches” with me, someone he saw as a poor stranger passing through.

Christmas is an excellent opportunity for us to consider our “riches”, thank God for them and ask God to help us to know how to share these riches with those who have less.

With best wishes for God’s blessings upon you and your families during this upcoming Christmas season and always,

Yours in Christ,

+Peter Hundt,

Bishop of Corner Brook and Labrador

The Annual Christmas message from the President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Lionel Gendron, P.S.S., was released on Thursday, December 7, 2017.


The Most Reverend Lionel Gendron, P.S.S.

Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil

President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

Best wishes…


At Christmas and New Year’s, we enjoy sharing our very best wishes with those we love. Along with “Merry Christmas!” and “Happy New Year!”, one of the greetings we so often hear and repeat is “I wish you good health! It’s so important!” Without denying the importance of good health, I would like to journey with you to discover the source of the Word of God, that which is truly most essential for the human heart.

We have all heard the Hebrew word shalom and know it is most often translated as “peace”. What we may not always realize, however, is that shalom does not merely mean peace in the sense of the absence of war. There is in this word a richness with greater implications. Let me illustrate what I mean with an example. In 2 Samuel 11:7 (New Revised Standard Version), we read: “When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the people fared, and how the war was going.” If one sticks to the literal translation of this passage, David is asking Uriah about the shalom of General Joab, his army, and thus of the war; in short, about the “shalom (peace) of the war”. Now that provides food for thought!

As we move through the season of Advent and draw nearer to Christmas, we should take a little time to prepare ourselves spiritually for the coming birth of our Saviour. In many cultures, it is a common practice to mark a special Advent observance in order to better prepare oneself spiritually for Christmas. Many of these observances begin in the final nine days of Advent.

The Catholic Aboriginal Council for Reconciliation, created by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) in 1998, proposes that the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12), Patroness of the Americas, be a National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples. We are all invited to pray for aboriginal peoples today.

The Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council celebrates this day of prayer, solidarity and reconciliation by issuing an annual message honouring Indigenous people who have been inspired by their Catholic faith. The focus of this year’s message is to bring awareness to the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

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