Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, like every year at this time, it is with the joy of Easter that I write to you again.

On Easter morning, the Church community reawakens, welcoming the new life that the Holy Spirit breathes into it. Given new energy, we are stimulated into action. We find ourselves fulfilling our baptismal promises with renewed strength and vigor. We are thus asked to be generous and contribute to the cause of proclaiming God's love.

This year, the Annual Collection will take place on the first three Sundays in April (April 8-22). Once again, I ask you for your prayers and your support.

The city of Montreal was founded on May 17, 1642; this year therefore marks its 376th anniversary... As this year's theme, we have chosen: "The continuity of Montreal's essence...."

The onus is on us to ensure this much-desired continuity. If we truly wish to achieve this continuity, we must roll up our sleeves and return to the task. As so poetically expressed by Charles Baudelaire, "Only history has no end..."

We will always have to work toward building a Church that is continuously renewed and meets the spiritual needs of contemporary society. Moreover, we are building a Church that, by the grace of God, gives way to Eternal Life. How could we ever put a price on that?  

"Maintaining Montreal's essence..." This year, we will commemorate in a special way the arrival of Marguerite Bourgeoys in 1653 with the "Grande Recrue" and the young women adopted by King Louis XIV.

As a young teacher, Marguerite Bourgeoys founded the first school in Ville-Marie (1658), 360 years ago. By honouring these teachers who passed on the knowledge, values and truths of our faith, we wish to reiterate how important this continuity is for us. We express our gratitude to these men and women who taught the young with great skill and purpose.

Asserting our desire to contribute to the continuity of this heroic past, we thank the Lord for our city's history and for the spiritual path that has been forged thus far. The simple development of our city and our Church so radiantly speaks for itself.

Through the witness and engagement of our Church, we wish to take part in the "Togetherness" that characterizes our city. It is a time for both thanksgiving and for the People of God who reside in Montreal to be united with the vital and prevailing force that comes from the Joy of the Gospel.

May God bless you and shine his love and truth on you.

+ Christian Lépine    
Archbishop of Montreal


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