PASTORAL LETTER FROM CARDINAL MARC OUELLET
“I give thanks to my God
Those heartfelt words of Saint Paul come spontaneously to my mind to thank all those who participated actively and enthusiastically in the civic and religious celebrations of the 400th Anniversary of the founding of Quebec City, and especially in the 49th International Eucharistic Congress in June 2008.
During this year dedicated to Saint Paul, I feel his own emotions of gratitude, joy and tenderness toward you. On June 14, 2009, we are celebrating the solemnity of the Blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, almost exactly one year after the opening of the Congress on June 15, 2008. Recalling my Pastoral Letter, Thanksgiving for the Eucharistic Congress (November 1, 2008), I would like to take up again certain experiences of the “flood of graces” with which we were inundated a year ago and which are so good to remember.
How many graces received!
What deep joy remains from the final celebration! The Ite missa est was for everyone a sending on mission to share that Presence experienced in Eucharist with all our brothers and sisters of the world. Benedict XVI spoke to us directly from Rome during the homily. He reminded us of those “giants” of our religious history -- Jean de Brébeuf, François de Laval, Marie de l’Incarnation and Kateri Tekakwitha -- by inviting to our Assembly those Canadian Saints and Blessed who had accompanied us throughout the Congress. Despite the torrential rain, the crowd followed the celebration intensively, right to the end. Cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons and all the faithful then dispersed, happy, fulfilled and soaken through… yet delighted to have celebrated this Statio Orbis together, this Mass upon the world!
Evangelized by the event
Many happenings touched me personally during those Congress days. But I would especially like to know, even today, about the experiences you had at that great spiritual adventure. We continue to gather its fruits, and the wave of hope sent out by the Congress extends its effects over this Province and the entire country. Many echoes and testimonies still reach us from all over. I thank God for those shared graces!
Missionaries for the life of the world
Like the apostles in Jesus’ time, we may have started out as timid, uncertain pilgrims, but now the great Eucharistic Pentecost of June 2008 has transformed us into missionaries for the life of the world. May the stimulus received at the Congress channel our apostolic energies in service to the most needy, in a world that is anxious and thirsting for the Gospel! “One does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4).
How will we respond to the spiritual aspirations of our contemporaries? The Spirit of the Risen One, who nourishes our hearts with the Word of God and the Eucharist, surely gives us an incomparable divine and human Love to live and to share! Beyond a social program to promote, should we not make the talents we have received bear fruit, and tend toward holiness? Saint Hilaire de Poitiers once said, “We who have received a new birth through the sacrament of Baptism greatly rejoice when we feel within us the first advances of the Holy Spirit, when the understanding of mysteries, the knowledge of prophecies, the word of wisdom, charisms of healing, and domination over the devils awaken in us. All of this flows through us in waves, and what we sowed develops little by little into an abundant harvest.”
“At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest’ ” (Mt 9:36-37). These words challenge all of us as disciples of Jesus in our various states of life. Baptized in the Holy Spirit, let us offer ourselves to serve in the Lord’s vineyard.
The International Eucharistic Congress renewed our acceptance of the gift of God. May daily listening to the Word and fervent communion in the Bread of life unite our hearts in service to a culture of life and solidarity! May we generously spread the graces received and commit ourselves seriously to witness to the hope dwelling in us! Love for the poor, concern for justice and the integrity of creation, and searching for peace are signs of the grace radiating from the Eucharistic Heart of the Lord.
May the Eucharist forever remain our place of communion!
Let us rejoice over all the graces of conversion, healing, reconciliation and unity which are the fruit of the International Eucharistic Congress in our country and in the entire world. “Therefore, I, too, hearing of your faith in the Lord Jesus and of your love for all the holy ones, do not cease giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers” (Eph 1:15-16).
May the apostle Paul rejoice as well in our faith and our fidelity to the testimony of the Gospels : “Truly, the Lord has been raised and has appeared to Simon!” (Lk 24:34). May that apostle of fire give us the ardor and courage to announce the Gospel by our whole being, by our fervent communion with Christ!
Virgin Mary, servant of the Word and Eucharistic woman, star of hope, obtain for us the grace to witness to the gift of God through joyful charity nurtured by adoration: “They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God” (Lk 24:52-53).
May we, through the myriad ways of personal and communal spirituality, carry on the great national and international movement given new momentum during the 400th Anniversary of Quebec City -- this cradle of evangelization in North America, this city of God forever Eucharistic and missionary for the life of the world. And now we hasten toward the next stage, green Ireland, Dublin 2012!
Marc Cardinal Ouellet