I am writing this at the World Meeting on the Family in Philadelphia, where I’ve found a temporary home at the Bayard exhibit. Many Canadians have been kind enough to stop by for a visit, telling me about their hometowns, their parishes and families.
It is truly a gratifying experience, especially when they tell me — as a lot of them have — how much they enjoy their subscription to Living with Christ. They have also been giving me lots of suggestions and construction criticism, all of which is greatly appreciated.
There’s actually quite a significant Canadian presence here. I’ve met people from Antigonish, NS; Dawson Creek, BC; Whitehorse, Yukon; and points in between. In fact, there are roughly 1,000 Canadians, out of about 15,000 attending the four-day conference. The two biggest contingents are a group of 400 from Quebec City accompanying Cardinal Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, primate of Canada, and about 175 from Hamilton diocese led by Bishop Douglas Crosby, OMI.
With the help of church support, at least two families are here from each of 47 dioceses and eparchies in Canada, some with children in tow. My new friends from Whitehorse and Dawson Creek are among them.
Certainly the Canadian episcopacy is well represented. Besides Cardinal Lacroix and Bishop Crosby, who is also president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, this group includes Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton (with 26 followers), Archbishop Michael Miller, CSB, of Vancouver, Bishop Lionel Gendron, P.S.S., of Saint-Jean-Longueuil and vice president of the CCCB, and numerous others. The Toronto archdiocese is represented by Cardinal Thomas Collins and a large group. Among the laity is Michele Boulva, director of the Catholic Office for Life and Family, from Ottawa.
And, of course, our good friends from Salt+Light TV are also here. They are doing live broadcasting of Pope Francis’ trip to the United States, from Washington to New York and, finally, to Philadelphia where he will be presiding at a closing Mass on Sunday, September 28.
One endnote: Back in Canada, many Canadians will join the Pope in spirit for that closing Mass with one of their own at the shrine of Ste.-Anne-de-Beaupré near Quebec City.
From sea to sea, we are joining our American friends to celebrate the visit to North America of Francis, the “People’s Pope” (to borrow from an American newspaper headline). May God bless his visit.
Joseph Sinasac, Publishing Director