Example letter to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario

Dear Parishioners,

With regards to the CPSO consultation, we invite you to consider expressing your concerns about a possible policy revision that would infringe on physicians’ freedom of conscience. A letter has been composed and you can either collect a copy along with the bulletin or find it on our parish website: www.blessedsacrament.ca. A local Catholic physician has recommended that such a letter be sent to the e-mail addresses listed below.

Please personalize this letter with your own signature and address and send it to these email addresses asking them to please protect physicians’ freedom of conscience as they did publically in 2008:

- College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario: humanrights@cpso.on.ca AND – The Ontario Medical Association:  ved.tandan@oma.org ; virginia.walley@oma.org; michael.toth@oma.org.

This letter could also be mailed to the following address: College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario 80 College Street Toronto, Ontario  M5G 2E2

This is a very serious matter requiring our urgent attention. Finally, as a reminder we are inviting people to do the following: Vote Yes on the poll http://policyconsult.cpso.on.ca/?page_id=3403



To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing concerning the CPSO’s Human Rights Code policy review, in particular as it pertains to a physician’s right to decline non-emergency care that does not conform to his or her moral and/or religious beliefs. It is imperative that the CPSO retain this fundamental safeguard to a physician’s right to act according to his or her conscience. Conscience-protection guidelines are vital to a physician’s mental and emotional well-being and thereby contribute to a well-functioning and vibrant health care system. As Dr. Margaret Somerville, the founding director of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University said recently, “Do you really want to be treated by a doctor who doesn’t care if he thinks that he’s doing something unconscionable or unethical or immoral?”

Again the point needs to be emphasized that we are speaking of non-emergency care and not health-care services where a patient’s life is at risk. For example, except in very limited circumstances birth control is not health care, because it is acting against something that is actually functioning in a healthy manner – a person’s reproduction and fertility. Therefore, in the vast majority of cases birth control is about peoples’ lifestyle choices and not health care. Physicians should not be required by force of law to comply with someone else’s lifestyle choices.

Certainly a physician’s beliefs about what is, or is not, good medicine will sometimes inconvenience a patient. But what would be the consequences of forcing doctors to abandon their professional judgment and violate their conscience in order to cater to patients’ wishes? If individual doctors don’t have the right to reach their own conclusions as to what is good medicine in these non-emergency care situations we embark on a slippery slope where physicians will progressively be forced to cater to their patients’ demands.  This is not about good medical practices but about availability of non-emergency services that impose morality on all physicians, to the point where doctors need to violate their own conscience in order to serve their patients.

Our physicians’ freedom of conscience may cause some inconveniences, but their freedom cannot be usurped by the purported “right” of patients to access all medical services from any physician of their choosing.



Signed and Dated (and your address)

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College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) Human Rights Code Policy Review

Doctors in Ontario currently have the right to decline to provide non-emergency care that does not conform to their own moral and/or religious beliefs.  This allows them to opt out of non-emergency care referrals, such as abortions, emergency contraception and other medical care that violates their own conscience.

The CPSO is now reviewing their Human Rights Code policy; the new policy will provide guidelines for physicians practicing medicine in Ontario. There is pressure on the CPSO to include language in their policy that would require doctors to provide services or refer for services which run counter to their personal beliefs.

Given the possibility of grave implications of any change in the current policy of the CPSO regarding the Conscience Rights of Medical Practitioners, the Assembly of Catholic Bishops in Ontario is encouraging the Christian faithful to let their voices be heard.

The CPSO is accepting feedback on their website until August 5th at:


We strongly encourage you to provide feedback using one of the methods the CPSO suggests and support the right of doctors to follow their own moral and/or religious beliefs in their medical practice.

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The Feast of Corpus Christi

Feast of Corpus Christi 2014

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Next weekend on Sunday June 22 we will be celebrating our parish feast day, ‘The Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ’.

  • The 9:00a.m. & 11:00a.m. Masses will be combined into one mass at 10:00a.m. with BISHOP CHRISTIAN RIESBECK PRESIDING.
  • Directly following Mass there will be an outdoor procession of the Eucharist around the block which our Church presides.
  • Concluding with our annual Parish B.B.Q. at Corpus Christi school. There will be food and drinks for everyone with games and activities for the children.

We encourage you to bring the whole family along and to please invite a friend! See inside the bulletin for more details on how you can volunteer to help make this a joyful celebration.

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A message for LIFE

Being in Communion with the Catholic Church on Moral Issues

The position of the Catholic Church in favour of life at all stages is clear and unchanging. A person who takes a position in contradiction to the teaching of the Catholic Church on the value and dignity of human life from the moment of conception to the moment of a natural death, and persists in this belief, is not in communion with the Church’s values and teaching, which we believe faithfully transmit for today the teachings of Christ.

In his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel, no 213), Pope Francis explains the link between protection of the unborn and every other human right:

“Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenceless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church’s effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present her position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defence of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defense of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be. Reason alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life, but if we also look at the issue from the standpoint of faith, “every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offence against the creator of the individual”   (John Paul II, Christifideles laici, no 461).

One may not dissent from these core teachings on life issues and be considered a Catholic in good standing. This is a very serious matter requiring of each Catholic, prayer, reflection to inform one’s conscience, and openness to embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness.


+Terrence Prendergast, S.J.

Archbishop of Ottawa


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Faith Studies

The next round of Faith studies is beginning May 13th.  If you have taken the first study Discovery, then you can take any of the subsequent studies being offered!  If you haven’t already signed up and received a phone call, you can sign up at the back of the Church or contact the office.  The studies will begin Tuesday, May 13th at 7:15pm.  This will be the last round of studies being offered until September.

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Easter Vigil 2014

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Easter Vigil 2014


Photos courtesy of Gordon Johnson

Click on pictures for great detail!

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Happy Easter


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:  Our Easter celebration begins with a proclamation of joy. “Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven…let the trumpet of salvation sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph! Be glad, let earth be glad…!”

God’s plan was to rescue people from sin, restoring us to friendship with himself. This has taken place in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! God has come to us in the Incarnate Son to give us hope of eternal life and to bless us with Easter joy. Christ the Lord comes to share with us his joy and peace, his Holy Spirit and the special gift of himself “in the breaking of the bread”—Holy Communion.

Our new life in Christ was proclaimed by the apostles to whom our Risen Lord appeared. The Church continues to repeat with amazement the apostles’ message that Jesus, the crucified one, is risen from the dead and remains with his people.

In his recent Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), Pope Francis reminds us of the joy God and his Son Jesus wish to share with us through the Holy Spirit: “The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew” (EG #1).

Risen and alive, Jesus comes to us in the Easter Sacrament of Holy Communion. Today, in our churches, we recognize him “in the breaking of the bread” (Luke 24.35). This explains the importance of the Sunday Eucharist in feeding our spiritual life. We endanger our faith if we neglect the Eucharist and undervalue at Mass the victory Christ has gained for us. Today, as the Church celebrates our victory with Christ, we invite you to renew your commitment to sharing in Sunday Mass—the little Easter—every Sunday without fail. This is the sure path to the holiness that God wishes for you. Pope Francis encourages the whole Church—our diocese, our parishes and groups, all of us—to become disciples who are also missionaries. Disciples learn from Jesus Christ every day. Missionaries share this Good News with others: your family members, fellow students, and associates at work and at recreation.

God bless you and Happy Easter!                                                                                                                                                    + Terrence Prendergast, S.J., Archbishop of Ottawa



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Holy Week Schedule





Tuesday, April 15         No Mass at 6:30 p.m.

Diocesan Chrism Mass At Notre Dame Cathedral - 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, April 16  Mass at – 9:30 a.m.

Thursday, April 17      Holy Thursday     Mass of the Lord’s Supper - 7:00 p.m.

Adoration following Mass 8:15 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Friday, April 18           Good Friday         Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ – 3:00 p.m.

The Stations of the Cross – 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 19      Holy Saturday      Easter Vigil – 800 p.m.

Sunday, April 20        Easter Sunday      Mass times   9:00 a.m.   11:00 a.m.   12:30 p.m.

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‘I’m here to serve’

The Consecration of Christian Riesbeck, CC, a priest of the Companions of the Cross, in the Archdiocese of Ottawa at the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica on Wednesday, March 19, 2014.

The Consecration of Christian Riesbeck, CC, a priest of the Companions of the Cross, in the Archdiocese of Ottawa at the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica on Wednesday, March 19, 2014.

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Father Christian Riesbeck, Ottawa’s next Auxiliary Bishop!

Father Christian Riesbeck, CC, who is in residence at Blessed Sacrament has some big news, and congratulations are in order!

From Archbishop Prendergast’s blog.

It was announced in Rome today that His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed Reverend Christian Riesbeck, CC as Titular Bishop of Tipasa in Numidia and Auxiliary Bishop of Ottawa.

Read more here!

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