Archdiocese of St. John's

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

​Installation of K of C Officers

On Saturday, September 27, 2014 I presided with Fr. Pat Kennedy the 5:00 pm Mass at Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Bay Bulls where we had the installation of the K of C officers. The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic family fraternal service organization with 1.6 million members. It provides members and their families with volunteer opportunities in service to the Catholic Church, their communities, families and young people. After Mass I joined the K of C members and their guests for a meal. I thank the Bay Bulls K of C Council for the tremendous service they give to their church and community and I wish the new Executive many blessings in the coming year.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ;
What is euthanasia? And why are people across Canada so concerned about it at this time? These are very good questions. It would be very easy for me to begin my response by telling you what our Church is opposed to. I will not do that. We do not wish to be, or to be seen as, a Church that says "no." I wish to begin with what we believe in, and what we stand for. 
We believe in God, a God who creates all things and all people, who loves us into being, and who remains with us, loving and supporting us through good times and bad, in sickness and in health, through all the days of our lives, from conception to natural death. We believe in a God who gives us people who support us through all the moments and seasons of our lives. Through our experience, we have come to know that this love of God is tangible, that we experience it through the love of others-friends, family and neighbours. In sickness, we often experience the love and healing power of God through the hands and the skills of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. Sometimes they have the power to heal. Sometimes, they have the power to make us comfortable and to help us to bear our suffering by making our physical pain minimal. 
We stand for the dignity and worth of each human being. We value, and treasure diversity. We stand in wonder at the varied talents, skills, abilities and expressions of those with and alongside whom we live. Not one of us would dare to play God or to decide which of these sisters brothers should live or die. This determination is God' s alone to make. Ours is the often wondrous and sometimes difficult task of supporting, nurturing, feeding and sustaining, celebrating, rejoicing and weeping with our sisters and brothers, serving as the hands and feet of God as together we walk this journey of life. 
Euthanasia occurs when a person, not an illness or accident, takes the life of a human being. Many of us have had the experience of loving a person, or being touched by the life of a person, whom others might see little or no value. We who have had this experience usually think differently about the value of a human life. We know that every life has dignity and value. Others, seeing the same person that we see, might say, "He or She should be taken out of their suffering." Because we so treasure God's gift of life, because we have all experienced the mystery of life, we know that this is not our decision to make. Only God can take a life. 
As soon as we enter the discussion of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, we enter a field in which one person assumes or is given the right to determine whether and when another person dies. Instead, let us each work to further a society in which all are called to live as fully as possible until natural death, and then even more fully in the nearer presence of the God who always loved them into live. 
I pledge myself to working for this noble goal. I encourage and invite you to do the same. 

Your brother in Christ,

+ Martin

Saturday, 20 September 2014

​Catholic Missions in Canada Parish Talks

On the weekend of September 20 - 21 I will be joined by other Canadian Bishops speaking at various parishes in Charlottetown, PEI about the work and ministry of Catholic Missions in Canada. Catholic Missions In Canada seeks to sustain and extend the Catholic Faith in isolated, poor and hard-to-reach mission areas in Canada. These are communities where diocesan resources are insufficient to keep the Church alive. Catholic Missions promotes national awareness on the needs of our Canadian missions and raises funds to sustain the work of evangelization. Please visit their website at

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


“As your Bishop I wish to remind you that the years 2014-2018 mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War. We must never forget the tremendous contributions and horrendous sacrifices that so many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians made to that cause. Fighting in both Navy and Army uniform, in Merchant Marine and Forestry Corps, our brave forebears never hesitated to stand in harm’s way to protect our homes and values. While many of them paid the supreme sacrifice, many more came home wounded in body and/or mind. We must also never forget the suffering at home of wives and children for whom the effects of that war would be felt for the rest of their lives. Of course, we are also aware of and grateful for the pastoral guidance provided by a priest of our Archdiocese, Lt. Col. (Padre) Thomas Nangle, who served as Chaplain to the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and later as Newfoundland’s representative on the Imperial War Graves Commission as Director of War Graves Registration and Inquiry. His vision of the “Trail of the Caribou” has become a reality, and is a touchstone for many of those who wish to stand “where once they stood.”

Knowing that many of those brave volunteers were members of our Church, I am sponsoring a spiritual pilgrimage to the battlefields of Europe in the summer of 2016 and I have asked Craig Travel, a well-known travel company, to work out the details. Over the next few months you will begin to see advertisements for their special tour tentatively called, “On the Trail of the Caribou, 2016.” I personally invite you to consider this tour as we visit both the battlefields where our people fought in World War One and the cemeteries in which they are buried. In June-July 2016, there will be a group from this Archdiocese travelling to France and Belgium, and converging with many other groups at Beaumont Hamel on July 1. On that day, with Bishop Geoff Peddle of the Anglican Church I will lay a wreath in the remembrance ceremony at Beaumont Hamel. The tentative and approximate cost is $5000.00 (all-inclusive). I will provide more information as it becomes available. If you are interested in registering or receiving updates, please contact MaryLou Sweetapple at the Archdiocese of St. John’

+ Martin

Monday, 15 September 2014

​2014 CCCB Plenary

From September 15 - 19, I will be attending the annual Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops being held in at the Hotel Château Mont-Sainte-Anne, Beaupré, East of Quebec City and in the Archdiocese of Québec. Below you will find a synopsis of our meetings from Paul-Andre Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Please remember all bishops gathered for the Plenary Assembly this week as we dialogue, pray and reflect together on the needs of the Canadian Church.

Message from Paul-Andre Durocher, President of the CCCB

This year we are meeting in Beaupré, Québec, to be close to the September 14 celebrations by the Archdiocese of Québec of the 350th anniversary of the canonical erection of the first parish in North America outside Spanish territories. Beaupré is home to the national Shrine of Saint Anne de Beaupré, where we will gather later this week. Saint Anne's is a centre of pilgrimage for Indigenous Peoples together with all the faithful from Quebec, all of Canada and throughout North America. In honouring the grandmother of Jesus and the mother of Mary, whom tradition names Anne, we are reminded that the Gospel becomes alive when God's Word is written in human stories.

Evangelization is our special focus this year. This is our first Plenary since the proclamation by Pope Francis on April 3 that the Universal Church recognizes as Saints Bishop François de Laval and Mother Marie of the Incarnation, two of the founders of the Church in New France. We will reflect on Evangelii Gaudium ("The Joy of the Gospel"), Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation On the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today's World. We will do this with the help of a major intervention by Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, Archbishop of Havana, and by means of reflections by our Commission for Justice and Peace, and our Commission for Doctrine. The theme and demands of evangelization will also involve us in discussions on the preparations for the 2014 Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which focuses on "The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization".

On the 10th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, Blessed Paul VI summed up its objectives as a "single one: to make the Church of the 20th century ever better fitted for proclaiming the Gospel to the people of the 20th century" (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, no. 2.2). In continuing to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of the Council's documents, we might say that ours today is the responsibility and joy of making the Church better fitted for proclaiming the Gospel to the people of the 21st century. Archbishop Arthur Roche, Secretary of the Congregation for the Divine Liturgy and the Discipline of the Sacraments, will lead us in considering the enduring significance of Sacrosanctum Concilium, 50 years after the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. In line with its impressive series of resources on the Council's Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, our Commission for Christian Unity, Religious Relations with the Jews, and Interfaith Dialogue will engage us in an ecumenical presentation. Instead of the customary ecumenical greeting and message, this Plenary will feature panel presentations from five ecumenical guests on the importance of ecumenical dialogue and the experience of being in dialogue with the Catholic Church.

Two other ongoing challenges face us as Bishops in our ministry of proclaiming the Gospel. One is the protection of minors and other vulnerable persons. The second is to ensure our Conference can provide us with efficient service and support. Both these questions will be part of the agenda later this week.

In his conclusion to Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis noted the "interplay of justice and tenderness, of contemplation and concern for others", which "makes the ecclesial community look to Mary as a model of evangelization." United with the Holy Father, "We implore her maternal intercession that the Church may become a home for many peoples, a mother for all peoples, and that the way may be opened to the birth of a new world." Saints John XXIII and John Paul II, Saints François de Laval and Marie of the Incarnation, pray for us as our Assembly enters this week of encounter and reflection.

+Paul-André Durocher
Archbishop of Gatineau
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

Friday, 12 September 2014

Filipino Variety Show

On Sunday, September 7, I had the honour to attend a Filipino Cultural Celebration and Variety Show at Holy Heart of Mary Theatre, which was organized by the Filipino Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, Inc. (FILAN). The costumes, performances and singing by local Filipinos and Canadian guest performers were absolutely phenomenal. Part of the proceeds from this event go to the various outreach ministries of the Archdiocese of St. John's. Thank you to all those who organized and participated in Sunday night's event. 

Monday, 8 September 2014

Opening School Year Mass - St. Bonaventure's

On Tuesday morning, September 2, I celebrated Mass with the students, staff and parents of St. Bonaventure's School. This is an annual tradition and one that I look forward to every year. I pray that this school year will be one of promise, hard work, and success for all students. May Jesus, the Great Teacher, fill your hearts will love and truth and may you always be aware of His presence guiding you in your friendships, decisions, and learning. Always set high goals for yourself and work hard to make them a reality!

K of C Rosary - 50th. anniversary of Mary Queen of Peace Parish.

On September 4, I joined with pastor Fr. Frank Puddister, Knights of Columbus and parishioners from Mary Queen of Peace Church in a Rosary Service to commemorate the 50th. anniversary of Mary Queen of Peace Parish. The Rosary was accompanied by Scripture readings. There was also a poetry reading about Mary as well as a light procession outside on the grounds around the statue of Mary, Queen of Peace. I preached on the role of Mary and how all the experiences, both joyful and sorrowful, that Mary experienced, are events that women and all people experience today and that we can always turn to Mary our Mother in our time of need. A social concluded this very prayerful anniversary event.