Bishop's Blog

2018 Easter Message

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,  

Each year Christians throughout the world remember the great mysteries of our salvation throughout this week: Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the institution of the Eucharist, ministerial Priesthood, and the new command of loving service on Holy Thursday, the Father’s mercy revealed in Christ who is crucified on Good Friday, and the faith and belief in His resurrection. The message of Easter – of the resurrection of Jesus – takes us beyond the Cross to the joy and hope that comes from knowing the Risen Lord. It was Christ risen that allowed his disciples to fully know that God exists, that there is a future of hope for every human being and that our cry for unending life is indeed answered in Him. This is the real message of Easter!

The Way of the Cross through the streets of Calgary brings to life the passion of Jesus.  The carrying of the cross brings the experience of the disabled, the unemployed and working poor, homeless, migrants and refugees, victims of war, the unborn and the elderly into the light of Christ’s sacrificial love.  It is this sacrificial love that restores dignity for those who have been exiled from their homes, transforming strangers into neighbours, and calling us to respond with compassion and care to those who are suffering and vulnerable. The empty tomb becomes the true sign of the Easter faith which caused the disciples not to proclaim the tragedy of Jesus’ death but rather the sharing of his resurrection, the promise of eternal life with joy and confidence through the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

The Lord appeared to His Disciples after His Resurrection, and greeted them, saying: “Peace be to you.” Many times in Sacred Scripture, Our Blessed Lord offers his peace. And so it is in the lives of each of us, and will be until the end of time, Our Lord Jesus stands in our midst and says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

Easter calls us to promote with renewed zeal the witness of our faith by the living testimony of our lives. To seek this peace through respectful and joyful hearts. It calls us to move beyond the tomb of human emptiness with conviction by sharing the good news of the Resurrection. To courageously follow Jesus Christ, the risen one, and to boldly proclaim that out of darkness and suffering comes the promise of new life. This Easter, let us rise up with Christ to meet the world and our culture with a renewed conviction to authentically live our faith in serving our brothers and sisters in ways that will bring them hope and joy.

I wish all of you a Blessed Holy Week and Easter season, praying that God’s grace through his resurrection will always be the source of our hope and joy.      

Sincerely yours in Christ, 

Most Reverend William T. McGrattan, D.D.
Bishop of Calgary

Related Offices Bishop's
Related Themes Easter

2018 Lenten Message

February 13, 2018

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday as we gather to receive the “mark of ashes,” an exterior sign of our desire for interior change and renewal.  The time period of Lent mirrors the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, the 40 years the people of Israel wandered in the wilderness – a biblical number reflecting the passage of a generation and the emergence of a new one.  Lent is an annual opportunity in the liturgical year to engage in a spiritual renewal and to prepare for Easter by returning to the Lord in every aspect of our lives through the practices of prayer, almsgiving and fasting. 

PRAYER

Daily life can be occupied with many distractions which impact upon the peace in our hearts and draw us away from the practices of prayer.  Lent is a time in our faith lives that invites a return to solitude, silence and prayer.  Lent resounds with the words of the psalmist calling us to “be still and know that I am God.”  (Ps. 46)  Pope Francis has described the experience of prayer in this way, "In the face of so many wounds that hurt us and could lead to a hardness of heart, we are called to dive into the sea of prayer, which is the sea of the boundless love of God, in order to experience his tenderness."

ALMSGIVING

The pace of life sometimes isolates those who live in poverty or with underemployment.  This isolation reduces our personal contact with people living with insufficiency and those who could help can become disconnected from the needs of others.  The time of Lent echoes with the exclamation, "for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me." (Mt. 25: 35)  It is this reconnection which Lent summons in our hearts.  Through acts of sacrificial giving and in being truly present to the needs of others we recognize the sacred reflection of God in another person, we see their needs and our faith inspires us to respond generously.

FASTING

When speaking of fasting, the third penitential practice of Lent, Pope Francis says, “Fasting wakes us up. It makes us more attentive to God and our neighbour. It revives our desire to obey God, who alone is capable of satisfying our hunger.”  This penitential practice helps us to control our desires and to be freely attentive and open to the love of God.

This is indeed a holy season in the liturgical year.  May this season of prayer, almsgiving and fasting be a time of true spiritual conversion for all of us which in preparing our hearts to rejoice with the Risen Christ at Easter!

Yours in Christ,

Most Reverend William T. McGrattan, D.D.
Bishop of Calgary

Related Offices Bishop's Office of Liturgy
Related Themes Catholic Life Lent

Canada Summer Jobs Program

Updates

March 28, 2018

A number of Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities across Canada submitted to Minister Hadju a statement and proposed rewording of the Summer Job Program attestation, which she did not accept.

February 16, 2018

Organizations which have applied to the Program (either by altering or modifying the problematic attestation, or submitting a paper application without checking the attention box) have begun receiving notification from Service Canada stating that their applications are deemed incomplete. Service Canada is giving organizations 10 days from the date of its letter to check the attestation box or have their applications rejected. Service Canada is giving organizations 10 days from the date of its letter to check the attestation box or have their applications rejected. Attached is a copy of the Service Canada letter which was scanned from a website.

Mr. Barry W. Bussey (Director, Legal Affairs for The Canadian Council of Christian Charities, one of the organizations that signed the interfaith faith statement released 25 January) is recommending that charities, which are still unwilling to affirm the attestation, respond to Service Canada’s letter by requesting an accommodation under the Charter and the Canadian Human Rights Act. Although it seems unlikely such a response will alter the government’s position, it may be of evidentiary value in future litigation at either the Federal or Supreme Court. A template of the letter is available below should it prove useful to any applicant wishing to respond in this way.

February 8, 2018

As you may already be aware, the Government of Canada has extended to Friday, 9 February 2018, its deadline for applications for the Canada Summer Jobs program. The government however has not changed its position about amending or removing the attestation.

  1. CCCB has updated its website with the statements and letters by Catholic dioceses expressing their concerns. Click here.
  2. Please check the CCCB website regularly for updates on this matter. Or check this page regularly.
  3. If your organization is going to suffer a loss by not being able to participate in this program, or if you have an individual story, please send the details to: communications@calgarydiocese.ca or call 403-218-5500

Letter from the Bishop McGrattan

January 29, 2018

Re: Changes to the Government Requirement for Canada Summer Jobs Program 

Employment and Social Development Canada has changed the application process for the Summer Jobs funding program in 2018.

The following attestation is now required to be checked off by all organizations applying for federal funding from the Canada Summer Jobs program: "both the job and the organization's core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression." The government's website further specifies this includes "the right to access safe and legal abortions".  

A number of faith-based organizations are deeply concerned and cannot acquiesce to this new requirement since it would infringe on our beliefs, in the “dignity and sanctity of the human person from conception to natural death”, and the right to freedom of conscience and religion in our democratic society. I share this adamant objection and am advising all Catholic parishes, organizations, and charities in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary not to sign this attestation if they are applying for a grant through the Canada Summer Jobs program.  

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary operates many programs that serve people living in poverty and difficult life circumstances without asking about a person’s background or belief.  We serve because it is our witness of Christ through our faith that motivates us to do so. Therefore, I am disturbed and angry that our long-time tradition of service in our community has been disregarded in the formulation of application process changes. I strongly encourage you to contact your Member of Parliament asking them to remove the attestation from the application process and the determination of eligibility for funding. 

Yours in Christ,

† Most Reverend William T. McGrattan, D.D.
Bishop of the Diocese of Calgary

- Download Letter in PDF 

- FURTHER OPTION WHEN FILLING IN CANADA SUMMER JOBS APPLICATION FORM 


Contact your member of Parliament 

Resources

Photo: Interfaith Press Conference on #CanadaSummerJobs - CCCB/CECC

Most Reverend William T. McGrattan, D.D.
Bishop of Calgary

Related Offices Bishop's
Related Themes Catholic Faith CCCB Freedom of Religion Catholic Teachings
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