Vitality of the Francophone Catholic Community
How will we ensure the future vitality of our French-speaking Catholic community within the Archdiocese?
A public consultation conducted in 2021 by the Archdiocese of St. Boniface addressed this very question. The idea of a consultation was suggested by the Advisory Committee, whose purpose was to address the issue of vitality.
The issue of faith and Francophone identity has been around for a long time. Indeed, the last time the Archdiocese had formally studied the language issue was in 1995. After a consultation with the Presbyteral Council, held from 1992 to 1995, Archbishop Antoine Hacault published a document (No. 14/95) entitled "Orientations pastorales linguistiques pour les paroisses de l'Archidiocèse de Saint-Boniface". Since that publication, the Archdiocese has evolved greatly.
The consultation was held from May 12 to July 23, 2021. At that time, it had already been 14 months since public health measures had been put into effect to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of the consultation was not necessarily to find concrete answers, but rather to establish more specific questions for the diocese, parishes, priests and laity to reflect on. Through reflection and conversation among the various communities, a common spirit will guide future actions.
Through an individual survey or focus groups, everyone had the opportunity to share their impressions. For the survey, people filled it out online anonymously and provided some socio-demographic information. For the focus groups, the facilitator was responsible for submitting a summary of the discussion and asking participants to answer a few socio-demographic questions anonymously. We asked participants to provide this socio-demographic data in order to get a sense of the population represented.
Each French-speaking parish was asked to ensure that they maintained at least one focus group in their parish.
Community members were asked five questions:
- How are you living your faith life today? On a personal, family, community, and global level.
- What do you think are the most important aspects of continuing to live a life of faith in French in Manitoba?
- In your opinion, what are the greatest challenges in continuing to live a life of faith in French in Manitoba?
- Looking ahead (5 to 10 years), what does the Francophone Catholic community here in Manitoba look like? How did we get to this point? What has changed?
- How can we ensure the continuation of the transmission of the faith for the next generations?
The many responses received resulted in a report that provides an accurate representation of the current reality. People had the opportunity to reflect on the vitality of the faith in French and to have conversations with the people around them.
The purpose of this report was not to find the perfect solution to ensure this vitality, but rather to encourage awareness of the current situation in the community. This report is just a promising start to the next conversations and actions to be taken.
To read a summary of the report, click here
Click here to read Archbishop LeGatt's letter (in French) explaining the background to this project.
Click here to read Archbishop LeGatt's reflection (in French) on the French language and its importance to Catholics in the archdiocese in La Liberté, June 2, 2021.