On Thursday, December 1, 2022, the English-speaking Catholic community of Montreal gathered at St. Monica parish in NDG. This was the first time the community had met in-person since 2019. It was a night for thanksgiving, acknowledging that God is at work in our community amid the current challenges in the Church and world, and to recognize the creative achievements of the community despite all we have been through.
Anna Farrow, current Executive Director of the English Speaking Catholic Council welcomed a packed hall of representatives from different organisations, movements, religious communities, parishes and missions.
Father Raymond Lafontaine, Episcopal Vicar for the English-speaking Community and Director of the Office for English-speaking Pastoral Services, moderated the panel of speakers that comprised John Zucci, Communion and Liberation (a global movement focused on faith lived out in communion), Marybel Majorga, A Walk of Faith (her new podcast explores the questions young people have asked her), Talitha Cere, Momentum (a faith community for single moms and their children); and Brian Traynor, Divine Renovation (a global ministry that desires to inspire and equip every leader for the transformation of their parishes). The speakers spoke about their involvement in their respective apostolates, what prompted them to get involved, how they have been changed because of their involvement and how their ministry makes a difference in the lives it touches.
Eric Durocher was named the 2022 recipient of The Bishop Crowley Memorial Award. Brian Vidal, President of the English-speaking Catholic Council, congratulated Mr. Durocher for his extensive years of service to Communications for the Archdiocese of Montreal, his involvement in parish work, and various community projects, and for contributing his expertise and breadth of knowledge when consulted. He went on to say that Mr. Durocher helped ensure that the voices and history of the English-speaking Catholic community were heard, known and honoured. As editor of the Catholic Times, his standards of excellence in journalism and his broad knowledge of the community made this publication a cornerstone for the community. In recent years, he was the point person at various difficult moments in the life of the Church, managing the communications-role in a pastorally sensitive and effective way.
Mr. Durocher holds much of the history of the English- speaking community in his memory. In his acceptance speech, he chose to focus his attention on Bishop Leonard J. Crowley, after whom the award is named. He highlighted many aspects of his charism, missionary zeal, big picture vision, commitment, openness to ideas and creativity. Mr. Durocher underlined Bishop Crowley’s legacy to our community through the creation of the many organizations that toil for its vitality, including the Office for English Pastoral Services (formerly OELA), Pillars Trust (1972), The Catholic Times (1975), the ESCC (1981), Ministry to Priests (1983), and Renew (1987).
In her closing remarks, Anna Farrow let the community know that the English-Speaking Catholic Council is currently in the process of hiring a new Executive Director. The Office for English Pastoral Services would like to take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge the work Anna and the team at the ESCC has done in advocating for the English-speaking Catholic Community of Montreal and wish her well in her new endeavours.
During the second part of the evening, the community enjoyed a wine and cheese reception, courtesy of the English-speaking Catholic Council.
The hosts of the Community Gathering would like to thank St. Monica parish for their hospitality and attention to detail in the set-up of their parish hall, and all of you who joined us that evening.
As we near the end of Advent to approach the newborn in the manger, let us thank and praise the Lord for all the gifts He has bestowed on us, and look forward in peace, hope, and love to continuing our journey together until the same time next year, December 2023.