Last week, the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), has sent a letter conveying condolences and prayers to the Most Reverend Georges Pontier, Archbishop of Marseille and President of the Bishop’s Conference of France, following the recent tragedies that have occurred in France: the attack on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice during celebrations of France’s national holiday, and more recently the killing of Father Jacques Hamel, together with the assault on two Sisters and a group of parishioners perpetrated at the church in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray during Mass.
Here is the complete letter.
« On behalf of the Catholic Bishops of Canada, I wish to extend to you my deepest sorrow and prayers for the recent acts of violence suffered in France. On the evening of July 14, I was horrified to learn of the 84 people killed and 303 people wounded on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, while celebrating the national holiday of France. And just yesterday, Tuesday, July 26, I learned of the vicious and merciless killing of Father Jacques Hamel and the assault on the two Sisters and the parishioners perpetrated at the church in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray during Mass. I ask that you please extend the prayers, condolences and solidarity of the Bishops of Canada to Bishop André Marceau of Nice and Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen.
I was especially touched by the words of Archbishop Lebrun when responding to the tragedy in his diocese while in Poland for the gathering of World Youth Day. He urged the youth not to give in to the temptation to violence, “but instead become apostles of the civilization of love”. Equally inspiring, Bishop Marceau, in responding to the barbarism in Nice, called the people of France to overcome the “scandal of evil” by being a bridge of human solidarity, closeness and love to one another; reminding us to be conduits of human compassion and support in these difficult days.
Your Excellency, please convey to the people of France that from across the ocean, the hearts of your brother Bishops and of many Canadians are turned towards you in love, fraternity and support. Your response in faith and message of love during this time of violence and hate is a light of hope for all people of good will. Let us keep one another in prayer as we strive to build a civilization of love, compassion and mercy.
We pray for the continued intercession and protection of the Patroness of France, The Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Assumption, as well as Saint Réparate, Patron of the Diocese of Nice and Saint Romanus, Patron of the Archdiocese of Rouen. »