The funds raised from our gala will be dedicated to serve our brothers and sisters both at home and beyond our diocesan borders. This diocese was born from that spirit of charity that impels to mission: moved by the love of Christ men and women religious came on mission to the West to establish parishes, schools, and hospitals, in which they cared for the poor and needy. That same charity continues to inhabit us and impel us to care for others. This is why we have chosen to honour our centenary by raising needed funds to help two important endeavours.
The St. Vincent de Paul society cares for the poor here in our area. I have long been impressed with their ministry and am very pleased that we will be able to give them needed support. They are a necessary presence in our city and beyond and make tangible to many the love of Christ that gives hope.
Following the call of Blessed John Paul II for the dioceses of the Western hemisphere to consider how they might support one another, I am pleased to announce that the Archdiocese of Edmonton is entering a partnership of mutual enrichment and support with our sister diocese to the north, that of Mackenzie - Fort Smith. Its Bishop, Most Reverend Murray Chatlain, traveled to be with us for the gala. We are delighted to be of some assistance in responding to the various challenges he and his people face and I know that we shall in turn be enriched by the gifts of the North.
In his message to the Archdiocese marking our centenary, the Holy Father expressed his confidence that our centennial will be for the Archdiocesan family "an occasion for a renewed consciousness of their Christian dignity and mission." Let us, indeed, make this our prayer. Through our reflection upon the wondrous mystery of having been fashioned together as that family we call the Church, may we grow in an awareness of the identity and call that is ours as disciples of Jesus Christ, so that all may come to know and embrace the saving love of God.