The Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8) is one of the most revered celebrations in the Church year. Though overshadowed by Advent and the looming Christmas festivities, it nonetheless reflects the enduring love and veneration of the people of God toward Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Some 79 years ago, this feast was no doubt deliberately chosen to mark another occasion for joy—this time, in the history of the Catholic Church in Canada. On December 8, 1935, at the University of Ottawa, a group of Catholics under the leadership of Oblate Missionary Father André Guay launched an initiative to welcome the laity more fully into the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church.
Roughly six months later, this movement bore its first fruit: Prie avec l’Église, and, soon to follow, an English version called Pray with the Church. Today, they are Prions en Église and Living with Christ respectively.
In their various forms — monthly missalettes, annual adult and youth missals in English and a Sunday edition in French — Living with Christ has become an essential tool for Catholics in Canada to prepare for and pray the liturgy. They are present in nearly every parish across the country and can be found in the homes of many Catholics.
These publications have gone through various transformations, always seeking to evolve with each new generation to continue to be relevant to its needs and the needs of the Church. In recent years, we have reached out even more to churches and dioceses in every province and territory to ensure their faces and concerns are reflected in our pages.
In a very real way, Living with Christ is an international success story. In recent decades it has spread beyond our borders to become important worship aids in France, the United States, Philippines and, even more recently, in Africa. These countries have their own special editions. Beyond them, our Novalis Mission Fund allows us to provide complimentary subscriptions to missionaries in developing nations.
What has been most gratifying to our team here at Novalis is the passionate loyalty of our readers. They continue to remind us that the work of Living with Christ is vital to the health of the Church in Canada. While often thanking us for our work, they don’t hesitate to point out our failings as well. We accept these humbly and learn from them always.
So on this Feast of the Immaculate Conception, we say a prayer to Mary to look favourably on us and continue to intercede with Our Lord that Living with Christ and all its many readers will be blessed for another year.
-Joseph Sinasac, Publishing Director