Letters From a Young Catholic

My reflections as a Catholic young adult passionate about the Faith, seeking to grow in knowledge and understanding of God and discerning the will of the Lord in my life.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Catholic Canada and Québec

Interestingly, there was a strong emphasis at this recent conference on Catholicism in Québec and its implications for the rest of Canada. Catholic Christian Outreach has recognized the importance of Québec for the New Evangelization in Canada. Particularly, in light of the coming International Eucharistic Congress in Québec City in 2008 they are increasingly turning their focus and attention to "la belle province." In fact, next year, rise-up will be held in Québec City and Cardinal Ouellet has already agreed to participate in that conference. CCO has spoken with the Cardinal and committed itself to assisting him, and the people of Québec, in any way they can to prepare for the upcoming Eucharistic Congress.

Anyways, at this recent national conference put on by Catholic Christian Outreach for young Catholics from across Canada (over 350 attended from all across the country), there were a couple of young people from Marie-Jeunesse attending.

[Marie Jeunesse describes itself as:
"La Famille Marie-Jeunesse est une famille spirituelle de jeunes et une communauté nouvelle dans l'Église catholique. Rassemblés autour d'une spiritualité mariale et eucharistique, des jeunes, des consacrés, des prêtres et des familles choisissent l'Évangile comme idéal de sainteté. Ensemble, à l'intérieur d'une vie communautaire, ils cherchent à donner à leur quotidien, vécu à la manière de Marie, une saveur d'éternité."
(translation: The family Marie-Jeunesse is a spiritual family of young people and a new community in the Catholic Church. Gathered around a marian and eucharistic spirituality, young people, consecrated, priests, and families choose the Gospel as the ideal of sanctity. Together, through a community life, they seek to give their daily life, lived in the same manner as Mary, a taste of eternity.)]

Anyways, these young adults from Marie-Jeunesse spoke to us about the Catholic Church in Québec, highlighting the spiritual thirst that young Québequers have. They are searching for Truth and seeking meaning in their life yet are often disconnected from the Church.

I think in all that was said though, one of the most powerful comments made was that, as Catholic Tradition teaches us, the blood of Martyrs is the seed of Christianity, and when we look for martyrs in Canada, it is in Québec that we find this blood. It is in Québec that we find the foundation of the Catholic Church in Canada and our spiritual heritage. The seeds of Christianity have been planted in Québec and God will not abandon the Church in Canada and Québec. We were exhorted to pray together for Québec and to love Québec, that there would be no bounderies separating us from the spiritual inheritance of Québec.

I was really moved by the discussions surrounding Québec that went on at the conference and was filled with hope. Often, as a Catholic outside Québec it's disheartening to look at the statistics and see that the province which is 'supposed' to be the 'most Catholic' of all Canadian provinces also has the highest rates of divorce, abortion, common-law, suicide, etc... and yet the discussions surrounding Québec at this conference were actually of a positive tone. Yes, there are problems in Québec, but rather than sitting around complaining about it, we should highlight the hope of the Gospel and actively participate in the New Evangelization in Québec and throughout the rest of Canada. One speaker pointed out that since Québec, is the heart of the Catholic Church in Canada, we will not see the renewal of the Faith, the New Springtime, in Canada, unless it takes place first in Québec.

Anyways, aside from the speakers, there were some interesting discussions on this topic going on at the conference among friends. I was speaking with one diocesan priest I know fairly well from my diocese who was commenting on how moved he was by the various speakers who emphasized just how important it is to the Church in Canada that the Gospel be boldly proclaimed in Québec.

So, next year, Rise-Up (the annual national CCO conference) is in Québec. I invite all of my readers, especially from Québec to attend. Cardinal Ouellet will be attending so there should be some great talks.