From the Bishop's Office
on this 31st of March 2020
Communique from Bishop Daniel Jodoin
I would first like to thank the parish priests and parish employees (secretaries, accountants, janitors) who are all on site and currently working hard to answer your requests and make our communities vibrant. Members of pastoral and management committees, as well as volunteers from various newly - formed aid committees, are also participating in this effort. I would also like to congratulate the work done by the members of our diocesan staff who are very busy responding to requests and needs from all over the diocese and even elsewhere. You are all doing ingenious and creative pastoral work within your communities, under conditions that are not obvious or easy. The faithful count on you. As a Church, we are living through special times, which are added to a history strewn with persecutions, wars, epidemics and martyrs of more than 2000 years. However, each time, thanks to the Risen Christ’s presence and to the action of many lay people, pastors and consecrated persons, the Church has known how to rise stronger and purified, always in service of the Lord and the people of God, in accordance with the mission he has entrusted to us.
I now share with you the guidelines to follow regarding
Holy Week celebrations,
which, as you can imagine, will be different this year.
Considering that the date for Easter cannot be changed and following the government’s preventive restrictions on gatherings and travel, the services of Holy Week will not be postponed but will be celebrated differently this year.
The Bishop will celebrate, without the presence of the people of God, all the services of Holy Week from the church in Caraquet. These celebrations will be broadcasted on CKLE CJVA 94.1 FM. He will also continue to celebrate Sunday Mass on CKLE CJVA radio at 10 AM until the end of the confinement measures.
The parish priests will celebrate the rites of Holy Week, without the presence of the people of God, in an appropriate place, avoiding concelebration. The faithful will be informed of the start time of the celebrations so that they may join in prayer from their own homes.
Here are the celebrations which will be broadcasted (in French) on CKLE CJVA 94,1 FM:
April 5th – Palm Sunday: Mass at 10 AM celebrated by Msgr Jodoin
Unfortunately, we will not be able to distribute blessed palms in our parishes due to the preventive restrictions currently in effect, but once they are lifted, we will make blessed palms available in one form or another to those who wish.
April 6th – Monday of Holy Week: Rosary and Mass at 6 :30 PM celebrated by Father Patrick McGraw
The blessing of the oils will take place in the church in Caraquet in the presence of the Bishop, the Chancellor and the parish priest. Another celebration will take place at a later time in the presence of the people of God and all the priests of the Diocese to allow the priests to renew their vows and give thanks to the Lord for the accomplished ministry of our jubilees.
April 8th – Wednesday of Holy Week: Rosary and Mass at 6:30 PM celebrated by Father Patrick McGraw
April 9th – Holy Thursday: Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 6:30 PM celebrated by Msgr Jodoin
April 10th – Good Friday: Office of the Lord’s Passion at 3 PM celebrated by Msgr Jodoin
April 11th – Holy Saturday: Easter Vigil at 7 PM celebrated by Msgr Jodoin
April 12th – Easter Sunday: Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord at 10 AM celebrated by Msgr Jodoin
Note : To express our joy, and mark Easter Sunday, we will ring the bells of all the churches in the Diocese at 12 noon for 5 to 10 minutes.
Given the current preventive measures in place, we understand that it may be difficult for you to perform your “Easter duties” (which is to say to live the sacrament of reconciliation and to participate in the Offices of Holy Week, at minimum the Easter Sunday Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord). Pope Francis has issued directives to allow all bishops to issue special dispensations given their respective circumstances. As bishop of the Diocese of Bathurst, I therefore exempt you from your “Easter duties” within the traditional time prescribed this year. You are invited to celebrate your Easter duties at a more opportune time (that is, when the current situation has returned to normal).
Let us always remember, the Church is a family that must remain at the service of its children. A father or mother would never abandon their family, even in the most difficult times. Just think of our ancestors, our parents and grandparents who, often, in miserable conditions and extreme poverty, still managed to support their families through their ingenuity and their creativity. In the hardest of times, they left it to God, to Providence. A Providence that never disappointed them.
We must follow their example. As such, from the first days of this current crisis, the Diocese of Bathurst gave clear instructions, not to lay off any lay employees or priests. We could not consciously, leave fathers and mothers without income for an unknown period. In addition, the Church is an essential service, serving God, the faithful and all those who have needs, regardless of the circumstances. In times of crisis, more than ever, it is necessary for all staff to be present, in order to do the work required and meet the needs of the community. As our ancestors did, we must put our faith in Providence and put into practice daily our evangelical teaching.
Christ, our good shepherd and Mary, our guiding star, have always guided and protected the Acadian people throughout history. During the dangerous times we are living, let their presence be a source of comfort and hope for you and all the members of your family.
Fraternally in Jesus Christ,
+ Daniel Jodoin
Message given on the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord (March 25, 2020)
You can read the message our Bishop, Msgr Daniel Jodoin sent to the faithful on our website. Here is the address : http://diocesebathurst.com/web/en/diocese/bishops-office
Below is a translate of an article written by Mathieu Bock-Côté on Thursday, March 26, 2020 for the Journal de Montréal
The Martyr of the Italian priests
(For the French article "Le martyr des prêtres Italiens", check out the French Diocese Newsletter)
To be honest, it is carnage. The blows hit wildly, and massively. The deaths are piling up by the thousands and there is reason to fear that the trend will continue for a while even if, according to the authorities, the contagion seems to be slowing down.
At the time of this writing, 6800 have passed away. I guess that at the time of publication, there will be even more.
It is in this context, in recent days, that we have learned on the site of the French weekly La vie, of the sacrifice of priests in the vicinity of Bergamo, a city in the north of the country.
In a “run for your lives” atmosphere, they decided to stay with their flock, so as not to abandon them to their distress before death. There is a heroic sacrifice, which deserves our deep respect.
These priests have pushed their faith to its climax.
It may seem astonishing, not to say revolting, in a world that no longer wants to see religion as anything but a vast deception. Yet massive disbelief is new on a historical scale. Some will see in it the inevitable consequence of the progress of the scientific spirit. This is a more understandable point of view. However, it is not final.
Because the contemporary man who takes refuge in the wackiest superstitions, does he believe the sky to be as empty as he claims? He is less an atheist than a follower of compensatory beliefs.
Every day, at the heart of this crisis, we learn that a terminally ill person had to die alone, with no one to whisper a few last words of love and comfort to him. One can imagine his despair. We could paraphrase Genesis by saying that it is not good for man to be alone in his last moments.
One should never close one's eyes for good without holding a loving hand and saying a last prayer, as long as one carries within oneself even the possibility of faith.
One can believe, in fact, one can be certain that this is what these priests said to themselves, they who decided to push their commitment to martyrdom, as if they wanted to accompany the victims to heaven.
For that, we need to have incandescent faith, that which leads to a total commitment to the service of others - to the service of God, we would say those who are animated by it and who consent to the ultimate sacrifice.
Everyone knows that the Church has committed unforgivable atrocities. For many of our contemporaries, the priest is almost automatically an abuser. It would never occur to anyone to put these despicable crimes into perspective.
However, in this apocalyptic-looking crisis, we must remember that there are thousands of people supporting their faithful, to meet the needs of their souls. Our materialism finds its limits there. It remains for everyone to know if they are betting on exceeding them.