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

Monday, February 11, 2013

We love you, Holy Father


Quite a surprise that greeted us all this morning! The resignation of Pope Benedict caught everyone unawares.

We are grateful to God for the leadership given to the Church by this extraordinary man. The clarity and beauty of his teachings will be a legacy to enrich the Church for generations.

Having met with the Pope last November and seen firsthand his growing physical weakness, I sympathize with his decision. Clearly his love for the Church and his shepherd's heart have led him to take this step, which he believes in his conscience to be necessary for the good of the Church. We offer our prayers for him and assure him of our love and gratitude.


Please Pray For ...

A few things to commend to your prayers this week.

First, these past few days saw the passing of two holy men: Most Reverend Arthé Guimond, Archbishop Emeritus of Grouard McLennan, and Reverend Father Duncan MacDonnell, priest of the Archdiocese of Edmonton. Archbishop Guimond was an inspiration to me and many others, especially in the manner he accepted and lived within the limits imposed upon him by serious illness. Father MacDonnell was a priest beloved of all who knew him; he served faithfully for many years with the heart of a true shepherd. Please hold them in prayer. May eternal rest and perpetual light be theirs by God's great mercy.

Second, think of someone you know today who is sick, and perhaps consider visiting them. At the very least pray for them. Today, February 11th, is the World Day of Prayer for the Sick. A prayer to offer is proposed at www.news.va/en/news/prayer-for-the-xxi-world-day-of-the-sick. This day also marks the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Let us lift up to the intercession of our Blessed Mother not only our ill loved ones and friends but also those who have no one to pray for them.

Finally, let us pray for ourselves. Lent begins this week on Ash Wednesday. It is a privileged time of grace and mercy, during which we ponder in a particularly focused manner the truth of God's love and readiness to forgive. In yesterday's Gospel passage (Luke 5: 1-11) we heard the call of the Lord to Saint Peter, and through Saint Peter to us, to set out into deep waters with the truth and beauty of the Gospel. First among the depths to be plumbed is our own heart. Let us ask the Lord during this holy season to reveal our hearts to us. Where do we need healing? Forgiveness? Freedom from guilt? May we then not hesitate to bring this need to him in the Sacrament of Penance that we there find mercy and a new beginning.

Speaking of this sacrament, please note that the Archdiocese of Edmonton is holding this Lent a special Day of Confessions. On March 6th, priests will make themselves available throughout the day and evening to receive those wishing to make their confession. All priests. All day. All parishes. You can find more details on our website at www.caedm.ca/confessions and I've also issued an invitation in video form. Please use your social networking contacts to spread the word!


Day of Confessions from Archdiocese of Edmonton on Vimeo.

Have a good week.