APRIL 14, 2023

Montreal — 

On Tuesday, April 17, the Catholic Church celebrates the life of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, first North American Aboriginal person elevated to sainthood.
Several events will be held at the mission Saint-François-Xavier, in Kahnawake.

Known as the “Lily of the Mohawks”, St. Kateri Tekakwitha understood the heart of the gospel message of God’s ‘first mercy’ given to the poor and vulnerable, what was later became known in Catholic Social teachings as the principle of ‘preferential option for the poor’.

Born in 1656 in New York to a Catholic Algonquin mother and a Mohawk Chief, she came to understand at an early age what suffering and vulnerability really meant. Her parents and brother died of smallpox when she was four years old. Kateri was also affected by the disease, which left her almost blind and badly scarred her face. She was taken in by her aunts and uncle, who was strongly opposed to Christianity.

When she was 11 years old, her village was visited by the Jesuit missionaries Fathers Fremin, Bruyas and Pierron. From them, she received her first knowledge of Christianity. When Kateri turned 18, Father Jacques de Lamberville arrived to take charge of the mission in her village. Despite his misgivings, her uncle allowed her to be baptized as long as she remained in the village. Following her Baptism, Kateri lived a pious and faith-filled life, spending hours in prayer and fashioning crosses out of twigs. She also refused to marry, believing that she was married to God and that no man could take God’s place in her heart. Her beliefs were met with ridicule, hostility and threats.Thus, two years after her Baptism, she fled to St. Francis Xavier Mission, a Christian Mohawk village in Kahnawake, Quebec. It was there that she received her first Communion on Christmas Day 1677. She also made a vow of perpetual virginity on the Feast of the Annunciation in 1679. In Kahnawake, Kateri was known for her faith, holiness and loving regard for the vulnerable in her community. She taught prayers to children, cared for the elderly and the sick, and would often attend mass at sunrise and sunset.

Kateri’s health deteriorated in and on April 17, 1680, shortly before her 24th birthday, and was buried at St. Francis Xavier Mission. Her final words were: “Jesos Konoronkwa” (“Jesus, I love you”). Witnesses report that within minutes of her death, the smallpox scars vanished from her face, which then radiated with beauty. Today she is known as the patron saint of ecology.

The Mass for St. Kateri will be celebrated at the shrine in Kahnawake on
Sunday,  April 16, 2023, at 10:45 a.m.

February 09, 2023

Ottawa —

Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) has launched an emergency campaign to shelter survivors and provide bedding, food, medicines, nursing formula, diapers and clothing to more than 2,000 families for three months in northern Syria.

“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.”

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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.

Archbishop Christian Lépine will be presiding over the Eucharist celebration.

For more information, please contact:
Donatella Fiorani
514 925-4300 Ext. 289

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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.

 CND: Who is Marguerite Bourgeoys?