Quebec’s Cardinal Gérald Lacroix, seen in this Register file photo, spoke on the evangelization of native peoples May 1 in Windsor, Ont. Register file photo

Contrasts in evangelization

  • May 7, 2015

WINDSOR, ONT. - Between the feast days of Canada’s newest saints, the archbishop of Quebec City argued for an authentically Canadian approach to the evangelization of native peoples that offers a model for the evangelization of culture today.

“A Country Founded By Saints” was Cardinal Gérald Lacroix’s topic, in which he presented a Canadian history shaped by holiness, pointing out that the original explorers of Canada “travelled with missionaries and came with the explicit intent of evangelization.”

Cardinal Lacroix is the bishop of Canada’s hometown for saints. Last year, his first predecessor, François de Laval (feast day May 6), was canonized, as was Marie de l’Incarnation (April 30), also of Quebec City. The other 12 Canadian saints are also French, save for Kateri Tekakwitha, and even she lived and died near Montreal.

On May 1, Lacroix was here in Windsor to address the Christian Culture series, hosted by Assumption University. The series stretches back to the 1940s and has included some of the world’s most prominent Catholic figures from abroad (Jacques Maritain, Frank Sheed, Dorothy Day) and at home (Marshall McLuhan and Jean Vanier). It was suspended a few years back, but has been revived by the outgoing president of Assumption University, Fr. Thomas Rosica. Given Fr. Rosica’s principal job at Salt + Light, the series is also broadcast there, with Cardinal Lacroix’s lecture set to air on May 19 at 8:30 p.m., with a rebroadcast the evening of May 23.

“The Canadian way, the Jesuit way, was to go out to the native peoples, to learn their language, to learn their ways and then to bring them the Gospel,” Cardinal Lacroix said, citing the example of St. Marie de l’Incarnation, who developed a dictionary and catechism in the native languages, and even taught the native girls outdoors rather than forcing them into the unusual environment of a classroom.

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