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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.

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 members of the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council have chosen to make this year’s message a prayer dedicated to the family.

On December 12, Catholics celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadelupe, Patroness of the Americas, Empress of Latin America and Protectress of the Unborn Child.

The Diocesan Pastoral Planning (DPP) Advisory Committee extends sincere thanks to all the Priests, Sisters and Parishioners who participated in completing the survey questionnaire of September 2016.  The results from this second survey (the first was completed by all the parishes and missions in the summer of 2015) has provided the Advisory Committee with further important information in determining how best to continue moving forward with the Diocesan Pastoral Planning process.  Thank you for your ongoing support and please continue to pray for the success of this process based on “…the hope to which we are called…”

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.

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