Happy Canada Day, from Saint John Paul II

The words which follow are from the homilies and prayers of Pope St John Paul II when he visited Canada in September 1984.   They are timeless in how they encourage us and challenge us as Christians in Canada to serve the true needs of all Canadians and people around the world in our love of Jesus. 

We give thanks for all the richness of creation – in particular for the richness that has been shared in by the succeeding generations in Canada. Both by the generations that lived here in the past, according to the principles of their original culture, and also by the generations that have come here from beyond the sea, gradually building up the structures of a new civilization and Canadian culture. We give thanks to the Lord for the opportunities that countless families have found here over the years, and for the freedom and hope they have enjoyed.”

“In God’s plan you were not meant to inherit a broken world. It is the responsibility of all of us to change the dangerous course of events in which human beings have embarked.

In solidarity with your brothers and sisters of different nations and races and cultures, it is possible for you to change the world and to shape a better future for all – a future in which persons are more important than profits, in which the world’s resources are justly shared, and in which peaceful negotiations replace the threats of war.

But in order to do this you need God’s help. And God’s help comes to you through prayer. Your union with Christ will be the secret of your effectiveness,  and it is strengthened by your prayer, your conversation with God,  the lifting up of your heart to Him. But Jesus has also provided for your needs through the Sacraments of the Church, particularly the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Penance. The conversion of your hearts is brought about by Christ’s action and Christ reaches out to you in His sacraments, which will always be for you an expression and celebration of your faith and your life in Christ.

Sin is a human reality and we all need to experience forgiveness, reconciliation and peace in a personal encounter with Christ. God’s providence supplies this opportunity for us in Confession and makes available in the Eucharist an access to His love that responds to the deepest yearning for an interpersonal relationship.

Yes, to build a civilization based on love and truth and justice is surely a gigantic task. But you are equal to it! Why? Because Christ, living in you, because of His sacraments, because of your union with Him through prayer.”

“Saint Joseph, with you, for you, we bless the Lord. He chose you among all men to be the chaste spouse of Mary, the one who would remain at the threshold of the mystery of her divine maternity, and who, after her, would accept it in faith as the work of the Holy   Spirit.

You gave Jesus legal paternity in the line of David. You constantly watched over the Mother and the Child with an affectionate concern, in order to protect their lives and to allow them to accomplish their destiny.

The Savior Jesus chose to submit Himself to you,  as to a father, throughout His childhood and adolescence, and to receive from you an apprenticeship in human life, while you shared His life in the adoration of His mystery.

You remain at His side. Continue to protect the whole Church, the family born of the salvation of Jesus. Protect especially the people of Canada who have placed themselves under your patronage. Help them to come closer to the mystery of Christ in that attitude of faith, submission and love that was your own. See the spiritual and material needs of all those who beg your intercession, particularly families and those who are poor, in every sense; through you they are certain to find Mary’s maternal face and the hand of Jesus to assist them. Amen “



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