Each year, on December 8, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This Feast actually refers to the dogma that Mary was without original sin from the very moment of her conception and does not celebrate Mary’s conception of Christ through the action of the Holy Spirit, as many people mistakenly believe.

On the first Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2016, the ten member Bishops of the Atlantic Episcopal Assembly released a pastoral letter entitled "A Pastoral Reflection on Medical Assistance in Dying."

The season of Advent, which marks the beginning of the Church’s new liturgical year, begins on Sunday, November 27.  The word Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming” or “arrival”. The season of Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day and ends on Christmas Eve.

On Sunday, November 20, we celebrate the Feast of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. This year, on this feast , Pope Francis will close the Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica, thereby marking the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.

The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, more commonly referred to as All Souls Day, is observed annually on November 2. This is a day set aside for honoring the dead and praying for the souls of the faithful departed; it is not a holy day of obligation.

November 1st is the Solemnity of All Saints, a day dedicated to all of the saints of the Church, both those known and unknown.

In the early years of the Church, the tradition was to celebrate the martyrdom of saints on the anniversary of their martyrdom. However, when martyrdoms increased during the persecutions of the late Roman Empire, many local dioceses instituted a common feast day in order to be certain that all martyrs, both known and unknown, were properly honored.

On October 31, 2016 there will be an International Ecumenical Day of Prayer for Peace in the Middle East and especially for the people in Syria. This date has been chosen to coincide with the Pope’s Apostolic Voyage to Sweden to mark the ecumenical commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

This Day of Prayer is being organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Caritas Internationalis, and the Lutheran World Federation. The crisis in Syria requires a global response and Caritas Internationalis is mobilizing its members around the world to campaign for peace; Caritas Canada has joined the international campaign Syria: Peace is Possible and is promoting this international day of prayer for peace.

On Tuesday, October 18 – the Feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist - a new pastoral resource, entitled “Our Evangelical Neighbours”, will be released by The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. This pastoral resource was prepared by the CCCB Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity, Religious Relations with the Jews, and Interfaith Dialogue and developed in close collaboration with The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC). Their President Mr. Bruce Clemenger, has provided a letter of commendation to accompany the resource acknowledging its faithful representation of the Evangelical Christian communities. This resource provides Catholics in Canada an introduction to Evangelical Christianity by exploring the origins of Evangelical Christianity and its similarities and differences to Catholicism.

On October 3-4, the small island nation of Haiti was battered by Hurricane Matthew, classified at that time as a Category 4 Hurricane, and, in its aftermath, Haiti is facing a major crisis. Caritas Haiti and Caritas Internationalis have already launched a first emergency appeal, and Development and Peace Caritas Canada has contributed an initial $50 000 from their Humanitarian Fund.  In addition, Development and Peace has begun a campaign to assist Haiti and is appealing to all Canadians to be generous in donating to emergency relief.  Funds raised will be used to meet needs in health, water, and to provide shelter, food and non-food items in the most affected regions.

For more information and/or to donate directly to Development and Peace, please click here.

This year, World Mission Sunday is celebrated on Sunday, October 23. World Mission Sunday, organized by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, is a day set aside for Catholics around the world to recommit themselves to the Church’s missionary activity through prayer and sacrifice. The theme this year is Missionary Church, Witness of Mercy.

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