Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Canadian Bishops Meetings in Cornwall

On Monday morning the Bishops of Canada gathered in Cornwall for their annual Plenary Meeting and, of course, I am here with them. These meetings are held at the NAV Canada Training and Conference Centre. This centre was originally the training place for air traffic controllers and may still do this. But it is also a great conference centre.

The trees here in Ontario still have a lot of green leaves on them with a little bit of fall colour as you can see here at the entrance to the Centre.

As soon as you enter the property there is an old fighter jet from the Canadian Air Force on display to remind you of the military history of the place and the air navagation training which has been taught here.
The facilities are extensive and provide ample accomodation for the 80 or so bishops who come from all over Canada to spend this week together in study and discussion of contemporary matters which affect the Church in Canada.

The Centre is situated right on the St. Laurence Seaway. As I was taking this picture a large tanker was making its way towards Montreal with a couple of recreational boaters not far away from it.

It is a lovely and attractive spot particularly on a beautiful fall day such as this.

Its interior courtyard is still producing flowers, which were a very pretty sight after the devastating frost and cold that had hit Regina a week ago and killed off everything in my garden!
Some western Canadian bishops here: Bishop Ken Nowakowski of the Ukranian Eparchy in British Columbia, Bishop Bryan Bayda of the Ukranian Eparchy in Saskatoon and Bishop David Munroe of Kamloops, BC.

I had this nice picture taken with Archbishop V. J. Weisgerber who is the president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and is coming to the end of his term at the close of these meetings. Archbishop Jim is well known in Regina, having been a priest of the Archdiocese for many years before being apointed first as Bishop of Saskatoon and then Archbishop of Winnipeg. I find that he has done an excellent job of leading the Conference over the last three years.

Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary is on the left and next to him is Bishop Robert Harris of Saint John. Bishop Harris and I together attended the Conference for new Bishops in Rome in 2003. And next to him is Bishop Peter Hundt. Bishop Hundt replaced me as Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto when the Holy Father named me to Regina.

Here you can see the bishops getting settled in for the beginning of the meetings.

There were also visitors who attended the meetings on Monday and until noon on Tuesday. These visitors included ecumenical representatives from the Anglican Church of Canada, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, The Presbyterian Church in Canada and the Canadian Council of Churches. Also there were representatives of different Church groups and organizations such as Development and Peace, Catholic Organization for life and Family, Knights of Columbus, Catholic Women's League of Canada and so on.

One of the first presentations given to us was by Dr. Martin Mark, Office for Refugees - Archdiocese of Toronto, on the left. And Carl H├ętu of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association. They spoke to the Bishops about the severe plight of Christians in Iraq and the Middle East. They reported a refugee situation for these Christians parallelling the Boat People of the early '80's. The Catholic people and other Christians are being forced to leave their homes because of their Christian Faith. They cannot return home because of reported incidents of violence against Christian families who have made their way back to their home and were forced to flee again.
They asked the dioceses to undertake sponsorship programs in order to bring these refugees to Canada so that they can rebuild their lives and practice their faith in peace and security. It was both a disturbing and moving presentation. You can check out their web site at cnewa.org

After some of the talks, the Bishops break up into smaller groups with some of the observers to discuss topics presented during the day.
This group was chaired by Bishop Murray Chatlain of the NWT who is on the right with Fr. Bill Burke acting as secretary, on the left. You may remember Fr. Burke who came to Regina to speak on the Liturgy at the Archdiocesan Family Gathering a couple of years ago. Fr. Burke is the director of the CCCB Office of Liturgy.

Here are a couple of our visitors/observers. On the left is Joanne Chafe of the CCCB Episcopal Commission for Christian Education, English Sector and to her left is Rev. Paul N. Johnson representing the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

On Monday afternoon the Papal Nuchio to Canada, Archbishop Luigi Ventura paid his customary visit to the Plenary Assembly, but this time it was to bid farewell to the Canadian Bishops, a great number of whom had been appointed to the episcopacy during his tenure. Archbishop Ventura has been appointed by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI as Papal Nuncio to France. This is a prestigious and demanding appointment and Archbishop Ventura was warmly congratulated by the Bishops.

He also spoke to the assembled Bishops recalling his time here among us and the place Canada has come to hold in his life. We all wished him well and God's blessings in his new ministry in the Church.
The day finished with a reception and dinner in honour of the Apostolic Nuncio.

1 comment:

eyanharve said...

such a unique blog and content. thanks for sharing.
- St Austell