Celebration of the 400th Anniversary of Québec City

The year 2008 marks the 400th Anniversary of Quebec City, the first permanent French settlement in North America. This anniversary will be celebrated by great festivities.

The arrival of French people with deep faith also marked the beginning of the Catholic Church north of Mexico. Those pioneers were soon joined by the first Récollet missionaries, in 1615, and by the Jesuits, in 1625. The first religious congregations of women, the Ursulines and the Augustinian nuns, came in 1639.

During the 2008 celebrations, the religious dimension will play an important role, since the Catholic Church has played and still plays an important part in the life of Quebec people. In order that this religious dimension of the festivities may reach people of different interests and of all backgrounds, the Diocesan Church of Quebec is planning a variety of activities throughout the year. Furthermore, initial contacts with leaders of other Christian Churches have kindled hopes of organizing activities of an ecumenical nature.

Highlight of the Religious Celebrations

With the support of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Quebec’s Archbishop proposed to the Pope that the 49th International Eucharistic Congress be celebrated in Quebec City in 2008. Pope John Paul II officially announced the holding of the Congress in Quebec during an address on October 17, 2004, inaugurating the Year of the Eucharist. The Eucharistic Congress will be the most important religious event of the 2008 celebrations of the founding of Quebec City.

The theme of the Congress is “The Eucharist, Gift of God for the Life of the World”. As Cardinal Marc Ouellet remarked, “The Eucharist, as we know it from the accounts of its institution, testifies to the gift of love which the Son gives of himself for all humanity, a gift of love for the Father and for us which seals the New Covenant. It can also be seen as the gift which the Father makes to the world of his only Son, incarnate and crucified, who gathers around his table the dispersed children of God…. Finally, it is the gift of Trinitarian communion for the life of the world, through the action of the Holy Spirit who assures the intimate participation of the faithful in this Covenant mystery.”

© 2008 International Eucharistic Congress