Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 11, 1999
WCR Letters to the Editor
Letter shows ignorance of Alta. francophone realityIn his letter in the Oct. 25 WCR, John Zyp makes a "modest" proposal for Saint-Joachim (not St. Joachim) - that is to return to its roots and celebrate one Mass in English.
As it has been said many times lately, Saint-Joachim was the only Catholic church in Edmonton for a long time. It was then normal that Mass be celebrated in more than one language.
Zyp's suggestion is very simplistic and shows a complete ignorance of the francophone reality and fragility, not only in Alberta, but everywhere else in Canada.
As he says, "St. Joachim's beauty is far superior to our unfortunately somber basilica." Because of that, the francophone minority should, as usual, endanger its homogeneity to please the majority.
His suggestion is typical of what the francophone minority had to endure for so long in all the institutions it established over the years and which it lost, from hospitals, to schools, to churches and parishes, to municipal governments, to school boards, and which resulted in a very high rate of assimilation of its communities.
Why should there be a Mass in English in Saint-Joachim when there are so many English churches in Edmonton? Why should it always be up to francophone parishes to become bilingual and not vice versa??
Bilingualism is a good thing, except when it applies to schools and churches. Then it becomes a very "civilized" and very efficient means to assimilate the minority. The rural communities in Alberta are good examples of this reality.
Finally, Zyp says that "nothing could be more Canadian and Catholic than a bilingual parish."
Since Canada is a bilingual country, my "modest" suggestion is that one Mass be celebrated in French in each English parish in Edmonton where there are francophone parishioners, for example, St. Joseph's Basilica and St. Andrew's.
If this seems ludicrous, so is Zyp's suggestion. What is also ludicrous is the way too many English-speaking people interpret the bilingual reality of our country.
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