Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral: Canada's oldest church
By Francesca Merlo
On Thursday afternoon, Pope Francis travels to Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral, where he presides over Evening Prayer with consecrated people, seminarians and pastoral workers.
The Pope is due to be welcomed by the Cardinal Archbishop of Quebec, Gerald Lacroix and the President of the Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Raymond Poisson.
The Basilica Cathedral
Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral was built in 1647, and was given the name Notre-Dame de la Paix, (Our Lady of Peace).
It was the first church to be built of stone in the city. Over two hundred years later, Pope Pius IX declared it a basilica, because of the important number of pilgrims it draws.
The church was bombarded and burned in 1759 during the British siege and then rebuilt according to the original plans. Various parts or decorative components were added during the following decades. It burned down once again in 1922, and was rebuilt using the old plans for a second time.
In 1984, Saint John Paul II began his pastoral visit to Canada with a moment of prayer inside the Cathedral in order to share a sense of faith with the people of the community.
The Basilica-Cathedral is situated in the very heart of old Quebec, and has been designated a UNESCO world heritage site.
Canadian bishops' conference
Amongst those present at Vespers in the cathedral later today are members of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCBE), which brings together the prelates of the Latin and Eastern ecclesiastical circumscriptions of the country.
The conference was established in 1943 and officially recognised by the Holy See in 1948 under the name Canadian Catholic Conference, taking on its current name in 1977.
The National Secretariat is based in Ottawa. Anglophone and Francophone bishops alternate in its presidency every two years.