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On Wednesday, June 7th, the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), joined other Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Bahá'í faith leaders in Canada in launching a national appeal to help address the famines in South Sudan and the extreme food shortages in Yemen, northeast Nigeria and Somalia.

In February 2017, the United Nations declared that 20 million people, including 1.4 million vulnerable children, are at risk of death over the coming months in these four countries. This crisis results from severe droughts brought about by climate change and ongoing armed conflicts, which have caused thousands of people to flee their homes and land; these issues make transportation and access to food extremely difficult.  According to the UN, the crisis far exceeds the current availability of resources and the amount of funding committed so far by the international community.

The national appeal calls for a threefold response from the faithful: Pray-Give-Speak Out.

Canadians of all faiths are asked to pray for both the people of these countries and the humanitarian workers who seek to bring them aid as well as to pray for peace in the region.

Canadians are also asked to make a financial contribution to one or more of the various reputable Canadian aid agencies working to alleviate this crisis. Contributions made to a recognized Canadian charity by 30 June 2017 will be matched by the Government of Canada.  The CCCB has identified three Catholic agencies to raise awareness and funds for this catastrophic food crisis.

Finally, Canadians are asked to take the time to become better informed about the crisis in the four countries; to speak about it with family, friends and neighbours; to discuss it with local community agencies; and to contact Members of Parliament.

 

Trinity Sunday, which is celebrated a week after Pentecost Sunday, honours what is referred to in Paragraph 234 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as “the central mystery of Christian faith and life” - the Most Holy Trinity. This year we celebrate Trinity Sunday on June 11.

On Sunday, June 4th, the Church celebrates Pentecost. This Solemnity  comes fifty days after Easter and ten days after the Ascension of Jesus. Pentecost, which marks the end of the Easter Season, celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles.

Following Mass on Pentecost Sunday, the Easter cross is removed from the sanctuary, signifying that the Easter Season has come to an end. The Paschal candle will be moved to stand next to the Baptismal font. It will be used during the celebration of Baptism, when the candles of the newly baptized are lit from it. It may also be placed near the body of the deceased at a funeral Mass, as a reminder that we entered into the death of Christ through our Baptism and we will rise again with Him in glory.

Each year, on the Sunday before Pentecost, the Church celebrates World Communications Day. This year’s theme is “Fear not, for I am with you” (Is 43:5): Communicating Hope and Trust in Our Time. The Holy Father’s message for World Communications Day is traditionally published in conjunction with the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers and journalists, observed annually on January 24th.

World Communications Day was established by Pope Paul VI after the Second Vatican Council in order to draw attention to “the vast and complex phenomenon of the modern means of social communication.” One of the documents produced by the Second Vatican Council, Inter Mirifica (Decree on the Media of Social Communication), was devoted entirely to communications media and it initiated the only worldwide annual celebration commissioned by the Council – World Communications Day – which was first celebrated in 1967 and continues to be observed annually.

On Sunday, May 28th, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Ascension. 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 sixth 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, the seventh Sunday of Easter.

On the weekend of May 6-7, more clergy appointments and retirements were announced in those parishes affected by the moves. Bishop Hundt expressed his gratitude to each of the priests for their generosity of spirit in accepting new appointments, as well as to the retiring priest for his years of faithful service. Please join with Bishop Hundt in praying that God blesses all of these priests and their parishioners during this time of transition and change.

On Saturday, May 7, the Diocese will host its annual catechetical conference at the Civic Centre in Corner Brook. At this conference, catechetical coordinators and catechists will be reviewing and evaluating the new resource used in family catechesis as well as the new Confirmation Year 1 resource, both of which were introduced in September 2016.   Conference participants will also be introduced to the new resource to be used in Confirmation Year 2. Fifty-five people from all parishes of the Diocese are expected to attend the conference.

On Sunday, May 7, the Church marks the 54th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. The theme this year is Led by the Spirit for Mission.

In 1963, Pope Paul VI designated Good Shepherd Sunday as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Good Shepherd Sunday is the fourth Sunday of Easter; that is, the Sunday three weeks after Easter Sunday. The name comes from the Gospel reading for this day which in all three lectionary years is taken from the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John. In this reading, Jesus is described as the Good Shepherd, who protects us as his flock and promises us the gift of eternal life.

The purpose of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations is to publically fulfill the Lord`s instruction to, ‘Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest’(Mt 9:38: Lk 10:2). While the Church appreciates the vocation of all Christians given at Baptism, it concentrates its attention this day on vocations to ordained ministries, religious life, societies of apostolic life or secular institutes.

Please join in praying that young men and women may hear and respond generously to God`s call to consecrated life.

On the weekend of April 29-30, clergy appointments and retirements were announced in the parishes affected by the moves. Bishop Hundt expressed his gratitude to each of the priests for their generosity of spirit in accepting new appointments, as well as to the retiring priests for their dedicated ministry and prays that God will bless them with long and joy-filled retirements. Please join with Bishop Hundt in praying that God blesses all the priests and their parishioners during this time of transition and change.

The Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), has signed a joint interfaith letter released as an op-ed in The Hill Times, a weekly newspaper covering government and federal politics on Parliament Hill. This letter, which was co-signed by other religious leaders in Canada – Jewish, Muslim and Christian, advocates a well-funded, national initiative both to improve the quality and availability of palliative care in Canada and to ensure that palliative care excludes any practices which intend to kill a patient.

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