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This young Canadian church was devoted almost entirely to evangelizing Indigenous peoples.Without neglecting the increasing number of settlers in New France, the Jesuits (and later the Sulpicians) concentrated on living with the Indigenous people.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 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.Cardinals are archbishops or bishops appointed by the pope, and upon the death of a pope they are responsible for electing the next pope.Each bishop is the head of a diocese and is responsible, among other things, for ordaining new priests.After New France's reorganization in 1663 as a royal colony, the church had to accept state intervention in joint questions (eg, establishment of parishes) and purely religious ones (eg, regulation of religious communities); in return, it could count on state support, which included money.The first diocese was established in Québec in 1674. It was homogeneous, because Protestants were allowed into the colony only for brief visits (Jansenism).