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Priests are responsible for their individual parishes and congregations.
The doctrine of apostolic succession holds that the spiritual authority vested in the apostles by Christ has descended in unbroken succession to the present pope, bishops and priests, who possess this authority in varying degrees. The church has numerous Christian religious communities of both genders; members commit themselves to chastity, as do priests and bishops of the Western rite.
Despite the number of Roman Catholic immigrants, and the fact that Roman Catholics remain the largest religious group in Canada, their numbers are declining.
Roman Catholicism came to what is now Canada with the first European explorers but was slow to establish itself.
Over time, other seasonal and thematic feasts have been added; in contemporary Catholicism, Christmas (feast of the birth of Jesus) and Epiphany (feast of the early manifestations of Christ's divinity) have been highlighted along with Easter as the central feasts of the year.
The Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated on the first Sunday after Christmas (Religious Festivals).
The church received its first prelate (senior clergyman) in 1659.
Though François de Laval was only vicar apostolic (ie, acting bishop where no hierarchy exists), he had sufficient jurisdiction to co-ordinate the establishment of the necessary institutions, including the Séminaire de Québec.
The missionaries went home to France during the English occupation of 1629-32, but then returned in force (although, by order of Cardinal Richelieu, only the Jesuits were permitted to resume their work).(Census data must be treated with care; identification with the church does not necessarily imply active membership.) Immigration of ethnic groups who are Roman Catholic has substantially contributed to the population in Canada and represented 39% of immigrants who came to Canada before 1961.This proportion increased to 43% of those who arrived between 19, however, this proportion dropped to 23% of immigrants who came to Canada between 19.The holy week begins with Palm Sunday, one week before Easter Sunday, and is the anniversary of Jesus Christ's entry into Jerusalem.On the Thursday before Easter Sunday, Catholics commemorate the Last Supper followed by Good Friday, the day of the crucifixion.