Each spring, I write to tell you about the good work undertaken by the Catholic Church of Montreal. It's also an opportunity to gratefully acknowledge your generosity regarding the diocesan Annual Collection, which last year raised $1.624 million.

Not only is our mission continuing to develop and flourish in our parishes and diocesan organizations, but we have also heard and responded to the call of the Universal Church inviting us to embrace this Year of Mercy and to come to the aid of refugees.

During this Year of Mercy, we are called to turn toward God's Mercy and to become merciful ourselves. Pope Francis wrote: "It is my burning desire that, during this Jubilee, the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. It will be a way to reawaken our conscience ... and let us enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel."

Let's work together to deepen our understanding of mercy and to become better witnesses of the Gospel of Christ. We are invited to become missionary disciples of God's Mercy. The world in which we live, our communities and our families need Divine Mercy.

The Lord is calling us this year, in a very concrete way, to help the weakest and most destitute. For this reason, many parishes and diocesan organizations have been working for several months to welcome refugees from the Middle East.

Let us be confident witnesses of Divine Mercy for these men, women and children, who have lost everything to war. Many among them are Christians who have had to face terrible persecution. Let us also send our prayers to those who are still over there, in very difficult circumstances.

As you can see, the challenges facing the Church in Montreal exceeds its resources. Knowing your fidelity and devotion to the Lord, it is with confidence that I am counting, again this year, on your generosity.

May Christ, who died and rose again for our salvation, keep you and your loved ones in his peace.

+ Christian Lépine
Archbishop of Montreal

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