The Church celebrates the 103rd World Day of Migrants and Refugees on Sunday, January 15, 2017. 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 “Child Migrants, the Vulnerable and the Voiceless”. In this message, he says:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me” (Mk 9:37; cf. Mt 18:5; Lk 9:48; Jn 13:20). With these words, the Evangelists remind the Christian community of Jesus’ teaching, which both inspires and challenges. …
But the Evangelists reflect also on the responsibility of the one who works against mercy: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin: it is better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Mt 18:6; cf. Mk 9:42; Lk 17:2). …
For this reason, on the occasion of the annual World Day of Migrants and Refugees, I feel compelled to draw attention to the reality of child migrants, especially the ones who are alone….
Click here to read Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees in its entirety.
On Monday, January 9, 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 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 50th World Day of Peace is Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace.
On Friday, December 30th, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family. This Feast is usually celebrated on the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas. However, when there is no Sunday between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, as is the case this year, the Church celebrates this feast on Friday, December 30th. 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 People of the Diocese,
At Christmas we celebrate God’s love for us taking human form through the birth of His Son Jesus as a baby born to a poor couple in Bethlehem of Judea. It is a religious solemnity through which we praise God for this gift of His love and in which we are reminded that love is often made incarnate in small, quiet and hidden ways.
Christmas is a very special time for us and for our society. It is a celebration that calls forth the best in us, inviting us to be generous, loving and kind, not just to family and friends, but to all people of good will. It invites us to remember that love is real and is meant to be shared, and that it is by sharing it that we receive it, are blessed by it, and ourselves become a blessing.
Hoping that this Christmas will be one in which each of us will give and receive the blessing of love shared and treasured, and asking that you join with me in praying for God’s love to become ever more incarnate through the generosity, sharing and kindness of all of us who bear the name of “Christian”, I remain,
Yours in Christ,
Bishop of Corner Brook and Labrador
The Diocese is pleased to announce that the Our Lady of Mercy Complex Committee has signed a lease agreement with the Diocese for the use of the Our Lady of Mercy Church property and buildings located in Port au Port West. Composed of people who have deep rooted ties to this church, the committee stated in their written proposal to lease the property that, building on the Gravels Development Group's efforts, they felt it was now their turn to take on the responsibility of maintaining these buildings and property as a focal point of the Port au Port and greater Bay St. George area. Both the Diocese and the Gravels Development Group have agreed to do what they can to assist the Complex Committee in beginning their work as the new lessees of this property.
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 annual Christmas message from the President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., was released on Tuesday, December 13.
CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2016
The Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I.,
Bishop of Hamilton
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
This past year the Holy Father gave us the gift of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, choosing as its motto “Merciful like the Father” (Misericordes sicut Pater). In March, on the Feast of Saint Joseph, he joined this gift with another, Amoris Laetitia, the Apostolic Exhortation on Love in the Family, tying it closely to the theme of the Jubilee, both by inviting Christian families to live in the daily spirit of forgiveness and by encouraging us to be signs of God’s mercy and closeness “wherever family life remains imperfect or lacks peace and joy” (no.5).
In Canada, 2016 was a year in which the term mercy took on heightened significance apart from the inspiration of Pope Francis. It was the year when Parliament, provincial legislatures, and physicians’ colleges set policies that would permit physicians to help patients end their own lives under the misperception of mercy-as-compassion. It was also the year when Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission would release its findings and calls to action, expressing the suffering felt within Indigenous communities, thus prompting Canadians to reflect on what mercy-as-forgiveness ultimately means.
In a letter read on the weekend of December 10-11 in Our Lady of the Snows Parish in Sheshatshui and Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Bishop Hundt announced that Father Paul Matthew Vellimoozhayil would be concluding his time of ministry in the Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador as well as his appointment as parish priest in Sheshatshui on Tuesday, January 31st, 2017.
The Bishop thanked Father Paul Matthew for his two and a half years of service to the Diocese, most of it in the Eastern Labrador parishes in Sheshatshui and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.