By Most Rev. Richard W. Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton
Monday, March 14, 2011
Spring ahead? Gladly!
This past week another event announced imminent new life – Ash Wednesday. We now find ourselves in the holy season of Lent.
Tuesday evening was the occasion for the blessing of the new home of Newman Theological College. In recent weeks about four thousand people have come through this new facility as well as that of St. Joseph Seminary. I have been greatly encouraged by the huge amount of excitement and enthusiasm among our people at the presence of these two important edifices on what we now are calling the Catholic campus. Tuesday was the occasion for asking God’s blessings upon all that takes place at NTC. We prayed that students, faculty and staff will seek together to encounter the Lord and be seized by the beauty of his truth in order to share with others the joy and hope that is ours in Christ. All gathered could sense that God is blessing us richly and we are humbled, grateful and hopeful. Early May will see the dedication of the seminary.
In many dioceses throughout the Church, the Rite of Election is held on the First Sunday of Lent. This was the case in the Archdiocese of Edmonton. On Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon I was blessed with the joy of calling about 200 women and men to the Easter sacraments. These are people who have felt the call of the Lord to follow him in the communion of the Church and have been preparing for a long time to respond to this call. Now they are at that point where they have been judged ready to proceed to full initiation into the Church at Easter through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist. They were present at the Basilica with others who, already baptized, now wish to complete their initiation into the Catholic Church, as well as with their teachers and sponsors. I had occasion to meet each of the new “elect” and the broad smiles on their faces said it all. It is beautiful and exciting to know the Lord and to be called to membership in his family, the Church.
And speaking of prayer, don’t forget our Novena for Vocations to priesthood and religious life, which begins this Wednesday, March 16th. I would be very grateful for your participation.
Have a great week!