On June 24, 1615, on the shores of the Rivière des Prairies, Father Denys Jamet and Father Joseph Le Caron, two of the four Recollects that accompanied Samuel de Champlain on his journey to New France, celebrated the first Mass on the island of Montreal.

This event marked what is considered to be the beginnings of the arrival of the Catholic Church, of religious life, and of Franciscan life in North America.

"At that time, leaving for the new continent was a risky undertaking, and only the most courageous attempted it. Indeed, all those who landed on our shores were exceptional, courageous, and daring, including the Recollects. Furthermore, with their pastoral and missionary spirit, these brothers marked the entire period of New France," said Brother Marc Le Goanvec, provincial superior of the Franciscans.

June 24, 2015 will mark the 400th anniversary of this memorable event, which the Franciscans of Eastern Canada will be highlighting by taking part in a solemn celebration (in french) organized by the Archdiocese of Montreal, starting at 10 am at Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church, in Montreal. You can follow via Twitter with the hashtag #400eMesseMTL.

Setting the scene for the festivities lined up for Montreal's 375th anniversary, the commemoration will begin with a brief historical representation of when the group of travellers, namely Samuel de Champlain, two Recollect priests, and a few First Nations representatives, arrived on the island. It will continue with the celebration of Mass, presided by Most Rev. Christian Lépine, and will end with the Saint Jean tradition of distributing bread and music on the parvis of the church. Everyone is cordially invited.

A scientific conference under the direction of the Institut du patrimoine culturel, in cooperation with Université Laval's Faculty of Literature and Social Sciences, will take place a few days before the celebration - from the 11th to the 13th of June.
"2015 provides a unique opportunity to bring the Franciscan community to light with the series of events surrounding the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the arrival in New France of the Recollects, a former branch of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM).

More widely known as the Franciscan Order, the OFM was founded in 1209 by Saint Francis of Assisi.

2015 will also provide the opportunity to highlight the 125th anniversary of the reintroduction of the Franciscan Order in Canada, after a 127-year absence under the British regime, following the Conquest of 1763."

"All these celebrations surrounding the key moments of the history of the OFM will be an opportunity not only to showcase the multifaceted nature of the Franciscan presence in North America but also to highlight a part of the religious history of the people of Quebec," concluded Brother Le Goanvec.

The Franciscans' Website
June 2015 Info Archives
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