Following this week’s major ice storm, on April 5, Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery is devastated, as are many other areas of Montreal. Thousands of trees were broken by the ice and wind, and all of the cemetery’s paths are clogged with branches that present a significant danger to visitors. Many branches, broken by the ice, threaten to fall at anytime, posing additional risks to visitors. The cemetery has also been without power since the evening of April 5.
We are saddened by this situation, especially since we had made every effort to accommodate families on Easter Sunday, an important day for many.
The cemetery has been closed since April 5th, and will remain closed for the next few days until the clean-up of the site is completed to ensure the safe reception of the families of the deceased. We sincerely regret this situation and we hope to obtain the cooperation of our striking employees in order to proceed with the clean-up of the site as quickly as possible.
We will announce the reopening of the cemetery as soon as the site is secure.
“This is a preliminary response focused on the work of our partners on the ground who have come to us, asking for our prayers and support,” said CNEWA’s president, Msgr. Peter I. Vaccari.
“Although our partners such as the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary have already opened up their doors to receive families who have lost everything, survivors are still processing the shock of the earthquake, searching through the rubble and assisting in rescue efforts,” said CNEWA’s regional director in Beirut, Michel Constantin, whose team manages emergency programs throughout the region. “There is a general state of panic, exacerbated by the harsh weather, complicating rescue efforts and the capacity to collect and assess data and plan accordingly.”
CNEWA’s preliminary aid will include helping the Blue Marist Brothers who are sheltering up to 1,000 families in Aleppo, collaborating with the Franciscan Friars and Salesian Fathers.
“The situation is tragic,” said Brother Georges Sabe, a member of the Blue Marists. “We have opened our convent doors to hundreds of families who have lost their houses, and their number is increasing by the hour. We are receiving the elderly, children and women who are now in urgent need of food, clothes, medications and, most of all, comfort and warmth in this harsh winter.”
CNEWA’s efforts will also support the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which already supports more than 850 families in the Aleppo region devastated by civil war through the local churches’ vast network of parishes and schools. CNEWA will provide St. Vincent de Paul staff and volunteers with mattresses, pillows, blankets and food, water and medicines. Milk, nursing formula and diapers will also be provided.
In the Syrian city of Hama, about 153 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake, CNEWA will be supporting three emergency shelters for more than 150 families who have lost their homes. CNEWA will provide bedding, kitchen utensils, food and medicines.
“We lived and survived the long years of war but never experienced this kind of fear,” said Bishop Abdo Abrash of the Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy of Homs, Hama and Yabroud, which is running the shelters. “It is true misery… there is a lack of first aid equipment to tend to the survivors.”
“While the situation on the ground is chaotic, this is a critical moment to help heal those who have survived – those who, as one of our partners told me, saw death,” reported Constantin.
“We join our CNEWA family in asking for the prayerful support of all Canadians,” said Dr. Adriana Bara, National Director for CNEWA in Canada. “Please be generous in this emergency campaign. Your support helps us offer life-giving support to victims and will give those affected the ability to rebuild their lives.”
JANUARY 29, 2023
Diocesan Celebration of the XXVIIth World Day for Consecrated Life
In honour of the 27th World Day for Consecrated Life, which is observed every year on February 2 at the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, we will have the great pleasure of taking part in a Eucharistic celebration on
Saturday, February 4, at 10:30 a.m.
at the Sanctuaire Marie-Reine-des-Coeurs, on 5875 Sherbrooke St. E., Montreal.
JANUARY 12, 2023
Happy Feast day of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, pioneer of the New World!
Marguerite Bourgeoys is a historical figure of New France (today, the Province of Quebec, Canada).
Originally from Troyes, France, she contributed, alongside Jeanne Mance and Paul de Maisonneuve, to the development of Ville-Marie (Montreal) and established New France’s first school.
Marguerite aspired to a more just world. She formed respectful bonds with the First Nations, welcomed immigrants, including the Filles du Roy (King’s Wards), and taught them how to survive in the new continent.
Marguerite Bourgeoys was canonized in 1982 by Pope John Paul II and thus became the first female saint of Canada. An important Quebec religious figure, she, among other things, participated in the construction of the first chapel in Montreal. She also founded a Catholic religious congregation.