WEEKLY BULLETIN – December 8, 2020 (The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.

(Luke 1.26-38)


Dear clergy and faithful,

Today, the Catholic Church has reason to rejoice, for she celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary! A few centuries after the death and resurrection of Christ, the Fathers of the Church were already elaborating on the great prerogatives that the Virgin Mary received from God from the moment of her conception. The term “Immaculate Conception” is not yet used, but this notion will not be long in coming.

In the 7th century, Theoteknos of Livias (550-650), bishop of Palestine, deals with this original purity by presenting Mary as “holy and all beautiful,” “pure and without blemish.” In the eighth century, Andrew of Crete, St. Germain of Constantinople and St. John Damascene profess that Mary is the beginning of the Redemption of the world, the “New Eve.” They see in her nativity the beginning of the second creation which will be inaugurated by the birth of her divine Son, the “New Adam.” From the first moment of her existence, she is said to be “full of sanctifying grace.” Three centuries later, St. Anselm published arguments to justify the “immaculate” birth of the Blessed Virgin.

During the same period, St. Eadmer wrote: “If Jeremiah was sanctified from his mother’s womb to be a prophet to the nations, and if John, who was to precede the Lord in the spirit and virtue of Elijah, was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb, who will dare to maintain that the only propitiatory of all times, the only and most sweet cradle of the Son of God Almighty, was deprived at the first moment of her conception, grace and illumination by the Holy Spirit….” (De Conceptione, PL 159.305 A)

We must also understand that for a long time people did not dare to say that Mary was exempt from original sin, because they did not know how to express that Jesus was her Redeemer. We had to wait for the Franciscan philosopher and theologian John Duns Scotus, born in 1266, to unite these two realities and understand that they are not mutually exclusive. It is in fact a divine grace given to Mary from her conception and in anticipation of Christ’s victory on the Cross.

The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) endorsed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception proclaimed by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854, recognizing that Mary, “full of grace,” is “the All-Holy One, free from every stain of sin, enriched from the very first moment of her conception by a radiant holiness that is absolutely unique.” (LG 56)

I will conclude by reminding you that the grace of the Immaculate concerns us all! In Mary, the beginning of the Redemption takes place. The Immaculate is therefore a gift from the Most High for each of us, and we are all called to bind ourselves to Mary so that we too may live “holy and immaculate” in the presence of God. (cf. Eph 1) On this great day of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, let us take the opportunity to renew our personal consecration to the Blessed Virgin.

+ Guy Desrochers, C.Ss.R., Bishop of Pembroke


Christmas holiday schedule

The Chancery will be closed from Wednesday, December 23rd, to Friday, January 1st, inclusively. It will re-open on Monday, January 4th. The staff at the Diocesan Administration Office takes this opportunity to offer you and your family a Christmas Season filled with peace and joy!

Ordo Liturgical Calendars for 2020-21

Ordo Liturgical Calendars for 2020-21 are presently available for purchase at the Chancery Office for only $20/copy on a first-come, first-served basis. If interested, please contact Donna Biggs at 613 732-7933 ext. 203.


Bishops of Alberta and Northwest Territories Issue Letter on Ethical Considerations Surrounding an Anti-COVID Vaccine – Friday, December 4, 2020

On 2 December 2020, the Catholic Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories issued a letter on the ethical considerations surrounding an anti-COVID vaccine. Link to the letter

2021 National Week for Life and the Family

Following the recommendations of the former Ad Hoc Committee on Life and Family of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), the Bishops of Canada at their October 2011 Plenary Assembly adopted a plan to implement a national pastoral initiative for life and family. As proposed at the time, the various elements of this national pastoral initiative could include: strategies for formation; the promotion of life and family; outreach for life; programs for youth and the elderly; and collaboration with ecclesial movements and new communities. Bishops in their respective dioceses would be invited to consider ideas as they are proposed and to adopt and adapt them for local use according to evolving pastoral needs, the availability of resources, and particular priorities. (Read more…)

Episcopal Resignation and Appointment of Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Hearst-Moosonee

On 29 November 2020, His Holiness Pope Francis accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Robert Bourgon from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Hearst-Moosonee and appointed the Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast, S.J., Archbishop of Ottawa-Cornwall, as Apostolic Administrator of Hearst-Moosonee. (Read more…)

Journey Through Advent – A Video Series to Introduce and Reflect on the Season – Monday, November 23, 2020

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) announced a new online weekly video series created to help Canadian Catholic faithful to prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Entitled Journey through Adventthe series is a joint project involving the CCCB’s Office national de liturgie, the National Liturgy Office, and the Office for Evangelization and Catechesis. The initiative was developed as a way, through the modern method of video messaging, to offer a resource that enriches faith formation during a time of joyful anticipation for the coming of the Lord and Saviour into the world. (Read more…)

2020 National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples

On 12 December, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Church in Canada celebrates the National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples. This year, the reflection by the Council centres … Read more.

Directory for Catechesis Webinar Series available on CCCB website

In October 2020, the Office for Evangelization and Catechesis hosted a four-part webinar series on the recently released Directory for Catechesis. The webinar recordings and the supporting PowerPoint Presentations are now available. Click here to access the Directory for Catechesis Webinar Series Resource Kit.  Info: m.shea-lawrence@cccb.ca.



Consider two options for online Confirmation preparation. Simple and cost effective. Both are excellent programs to help young people prepare and be strengthened for their mission in the Catholic Church. Please visit https://www.catholiconline.school/pages/confirmation or https://www.hopestone.ca/confirmation. For more information contact Deacon Adrien Chaput at 613 732-7933 ext. 206.


Diocesan Young Adult Ministry (18 to 35 yrs.)

Join us on Wednesday, December 16th at St. Columbkille Cathedral parish hall from 7-8:30 p.m. for some Advent fun and the second half of Session #2 – No Greater Love, a Biblical walk through Christ’s Passion by Edward Sri from Ascension Press. Holy Hour and reconciliation is available from 6-7 p.m. as well. To join the e-mail group please contact Yvette Bourque at 613 732-7933 ext. 208.

Parishes…..looking for ways to reach out and minister to youth during the pandemic?

LIFETEEN has new resources for youth grade 6-8 and 9-12 that are all online and virtual to help keep teens engaged in their faith and connected to the Church. Contact Yvette Bourque at 613 732-7322 ext. 208 for more information. I would be happy to discuss the options that are available.


Christmas Mass schedules

Many parishes are changing their Mass schedules this Christmas because of the COVID-19 restrictions. Please check your parish bulletin for Mass times.

Holy Mass – Extraordinary Form

Holy Mass in the extraordinary form is offered at St Columbkille Cathedral on the first Saturday of each month at 9 a.m. These Latin Masses are in the form of the Liturgy as it was celebrated at the time of the Second Vatican Council—the same form which nourished the faith of many of our ancestors. English translations of the entire Mass are provided. Next Mass – January 2, 2021.


Home Hosts – FCSRC

Family and Children’s Services of Renfrew County, with regard to the Renfrew County Safe Shelter for Youth program, is currently seeking possible Home Hosts to assist with providing accommodations, either short-term or long-term, to youth who are experiencing homelessness within our county. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Breanne Emon, Renfrew County Safe Shelter for Youth Coordinator, FCSRC, at 613 635-6180 or email: breanne.emon@fcsrenfrew.on.ca.


Marianhill Lottery 2021 supports the “Building Care” Redevelopment Project

Marianhill 2021 Lottery tickets are now available through to January 31, 2021. Lottery funds go towards the purchase of furniture and equipment for the new building. Each $25 ticket provides you with 69 chances to win. Early Bird draw December 16, 2020. Call Marianhill to order 613 735-6838 ext. 4306 OR download ticket order form at https://marianhill.ca/news/. Tickets will be mailed via Canada Post. Thank you for supporting the Marianhill Foundation!

A Love That Never Changes (By Miriam Stulberg, member of Madonna House)

I doubt if anyone in North America or Europe has ever experienced, as we did that year in Magadan, a Christmas so totally devoid of advertising glitter. After the Russian Revolution, religious feasts had been replaced by secular holidays. Traditions such as the Christmas tree, gift-giving, and family gatherings had been transferred to New Year’s, which then became the most popular celebration of the year. Orthodox Christmas didn’t fall until January seventh, in accordance with the Julian calendar, and had only recently been reinstated as a public holiday. (Read more….)

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