Father Philip Kennedy
In the story of the spread of Christianity across the vast areas of
One of these missionaries was the Oblate Ovide Charlebois, who, after his ordination as a priest in 1887, spent 46 years of his priesthood on the Northern Prairies, including 10 years at Cumberland House,
Father Carl Starkloff, S.J., addresses gathering during the Aboriginal Ministry Conference at the old St. Joseph Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta.
Bishop Charlebois lived and died a saintly man, striving to bring himself closer to God, and to lead others in the same direction. His case for possible beatification has begun.
Many missionary priests, sisters and bishops have dedicated their efforts to showing people the face of Jesus and the majestic plan of God the Father for us all. This primary evangelization took place over several decades, and gradually implanted in the people the identity of Christianity and Catholicism.
Now, in the 21st century, there is a need to do something in the nature of faith renewal, to revivify the practice and the identity of Catholics. Pope Benedict XVI has established a Pontifical Council for New Evangelization. He is not the first one to realize it, but he has declared that the age we live in has slipped away in many important ways from the beliefs and practices of the true faith.
The pope has been thinking especially of Europe and
New evangelization will be a factor in the processes of preaching and teaching the faith and exposing people to the Gospel of Christ. This will happen here in Canada, not just in the established cities and dioceses, but across the many places we refer to as “missions,” for the effects of secularization and loss of the sense of God’s presence need to be addressed in small parishes, on native reserves and native parishes, and in far-flung locations, since modern media have penetrated everywhere, spreading the empty word of materialism and individualism. Readers of Catholic Missions In Canada magazine will see examples of the new evangelization, and stories of the revival of the faith in the time to come.