By Most Rev. Richard W. Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Multiple Congratulations!

What an afternoon it was on Saturday for the people of the new parish of Corpus Christi, as well as for the parishioners at St. Theresa's, out of which this newest faith community is growing! It was the moment of breaking ground for the new Church. It felt like a long wait was at last over, and this in two ways. First, we have been in a deep freeze for far too long in Edmonton, and this past Saturday was the first mild day in quite a while. More importantly, though, the parishioners of both communities, under the wonderful leadership of Fr Corrigan, their pastor, have been striving mightily to raise funds for the new building. They had reached a level where we all came to the conclusion that it was time to get a shovel in the ground to begin construction.

Well, not quite a shovel. I don't know what it is about me and backhoes. When we broke ground for Newman Theological College and St. Joseph's Seminary a couple of years ago, they insisted I get into a backhoe and do the honours. Perhaps my performance on that occasion was more stellar than I recall, because they had me do it again on Saturday. Truth to tell, I get by with a little help from my friends, and the regular operator guided me at the levers at every step. It was lots of fun.

The enthusiasm of the people was very heartwarming. Clearly they love the Lord and his Church and are excited beyond words to have reached this stage in their journey of fashioning a new house of worship on the south side of our city. Well done, everyone!

Congratulations, too, to the many men, women and children whom I enrolled in the Book of the Elect at St. Joseph's Basilica over the weekend. I really enjoy meeting each one of them. Their excitement at drawing so close to the Easter sacraments is infectious, and is a great reminder to all believers of the wondrous gift we have been given to be disciples of the Lord Jesus in the communion of the Church.

The Scripture readings this same weekend spoke about the mystery of temptations, the seduction of the evil one, and of the power of the Lord over the wiles of Satan. By the help of God's grace, these new elect have resisted a rather pervasive temptation of our day, namely, the idea that we do not need Jesus or his Church. Like all work of the devil, this is a lie. Jesus is our Saviour, and he calls us to follow him precisely as members of his Body, which is the Church. As Pope Francis says very often, to speak of following Jesus without the Church is absurd. Our new elect have discovered this truth for themselves, and now look forward to full initiation. We rejoice with them and surround them with our love and support.