Quebec Taking Its Cue From Guadalajara

Cardinal Ouellet Impressed by Mexico’s Faith

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico, OCT. 21, 2004 ( The archbishop of the next diocese to host an International Eucharistic Congress received inspiration from the event in Guadalajara.

The 48th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) ended last Sunday. The next similar event is planned for the Canadian city of Quebec, in 2008.

The «IEC in Guadalajara has been a lesson of faith, welcome and communion,» Cardinal Marc Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec and primate of Canada, told El Semanario, the official publication of the Archdiocese of Guadalajara.

«It has given me at the same time an extraordinary impetus to fulfill the Holy Father’s request to host the next Congress in 2008, precisely when we, in Quebec, will be celebrating the fourth centenary of the city’s foundation,» the 60-year-old cardinal said.

«There is much difference between the living of the faith of Mexicans and those of Quebec,» he observed.

«Here one still perceives a Christian people, Catholic, which has a quite widespread and celebrated popular piety, virtues which we have lost in part, because over the last 30 years there has been a rapid process of secularization, of estrangement from the Church, by the faithful,» Cardinal Ouellet said.

«It will be a great challenge for us to evangelize our people again, with new means, new impetus, new ardor,» he added. «We think that the perspective of an IEC, as service to the Church and as a diocesan and national event, can mobilize and offer the opportunity of reconnecting with our Christian roots and sacramental culture: fundamental element of our popular reality.

Although 46% of Canada’s 32 million inhabitants are Catholic, only 10% participate in Sunday Mass. The majority of Catholics are in the province of Quebec. The Protestants comprise 36% of the population.

«The great challenge is to get our young people to discover the reality of the Christian faith,» Cardinal Ouellet said. «Even those who call themselves nominally Catholics, are ignorant of the sacramental life and its importance, which is a sorrow for my ministry.»

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