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At anniversary Mass, officials recall spiritual roots of Montreal


  • Archbishop Christian Lepine of Montreal smiles as he greets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, center right, and his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, before the ceremonial Mass May 17 at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal for the city's 375th birthday celebrations. (CNS photo/Dario Ayala, Reuters)
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau receives Communion during the ceremonial Mass May 17 at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal for the city's 375th birthday celebrations. (CNS photo/Dario Ayala, Reuters)
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses the congregation during the ceremonial Mass May 17 at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal for the city's 375th birthday celebrations. (CNS photo/Dario Ayala, Reuters)
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses the congregation during the ceremonial Mass May 17 at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal for the city's 375th birthday celebrations. (CNS photo/Dario Ayala, Reuters)

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MONTREAL (CNS) -- Montreal's 375th anniversary celebrations kicked off inside Notre-Dame Basilica with a celebration emphasizing that Montreal was not born out of violence or greed, but as a spiritual endeavor.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, Cardinals Gerald Lacroix of Quebec and Thomas Collins of Toronto attended the May 17 Mass, along with some 30 bishops, 400 priests, religious men and women and special guests.

The Mass celebrated the birth of Ville-Marie -- Montreal's original name -- in 1642. Archbishop Christian Lepine of Montreal recalled the memory of the founders of Montreal, "those adventurers of hope" who dared "set out without being sure of tomorrow."

It is through "their faith in the beauty of the project of a city founded on spirituality, togetherness and solidarity" that Montreal was born, said Archbishop Lepine. These "founding values have gone through time and are still current," he said, recalling that "the value of living together is part of the genes of Montreal and its history."

In a message to Archbishop Lepine, Pope Francis also noted the solidarity that drives Montreal and its inhabitants.

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