Friday 2 August 2019

The Archdiocese goes to the Ex

The opening day of the 140th Canadian National Exhibition is only a couple of weeks away. As we look to enjoy the final weeks of summer, we wanted to share some ephemera and correspondence about the C.N.E. from our collection.

Cardinal McGuigan and Archbishop Pocock were often invited to attend the inaugural day ceremonies and accompanying luncheons during their Episcopacy. Busy schedules (and later in life declining health) meant they often declined the invitations, yet we know that Archbishop Pocock attended at least a couple of the opening day celebrations.

Archbishop Pocock sits third from right at the opening day ceremonies
at the CNE bandshell, August 15, 1974


In 1965, the organizers must have realized that the head of the Catholic Archdiocese would not very well be bringing a wife to the event. "Lady" is crossed out and "Guest" added in. Cardinal McGuigan would have had to decline the invite due to his declining health.

Invitation to attend the inaugural ceremonies, 1965, addressed to Cardinal McGuigan

ARCAT Chancery Office Files : Canadian National Exhibition

Archbishop Pocock was invited to attend on opening day in 1969 when he was still Coadjutor Archbishop. He agreed to say grace before the luncheon that day and we have a draft of the prayer he intended to say along with a letter from the President of the C.N.E. expressing his thanks.

 "Eternal Father, gathered here to open the ninety-first Canadian National Exhibition we humbly offer you our thanks for all the blessings you have given to our beloved country; the beauty of its landscapes, the richness of its soil, the wealth of its resources, the dreams and sacrifices of its founders, the dedications of its leaders and of all who try courageously to guide it towards its destiny in justice, in unity and in peace. we thank you above all for our spiritual heritage, our faith and our dependence on you, our Lord and creator.

We ask your forgiveness for our shortcomings and we earnestly ask you to make of us a free people; free of selfishness, free of discrimination, free of greed, free of separation one from another.

On these historic grounds we now place on display the first fruits of our minds, our hearts and our hands; the achievements of the arts, of science, of industry and of agriculture. All of these we offer to you, our Lord and Master, with the earnest prayer that we may use our talents and resources in your service and in the service of your people here in Canada and throughout the world.

As you have blessed us so abundantly, so make of us a people dedicated to the highest ideals of social justice, of mutual understanding and love and grant us the effective determination to live at peace among ourselves and with all nations. This we humbly ask in your holy name. Amen."

ARCAT Chancery Files: Canadian National Exhibition

The Archdiocese also ran a Catholic Church Exhibit for the C.N.E. at least once. This pamphlet from the exhibit is from 1964 shows what the exhibit would have looked like. Interesting items on display include the sandals worn by Pope John at his coronation.

ARCAT Chancery Files: Canadian National Exhibition

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